Overall Rating Bronze - expired
Overall Score 41.59
Liaison Adam Maurer
Submission Date Dec. 18, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Seattle Central College
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Adam Maurer
District Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Seattle Culinary Academy (SCA)

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Seattle Culinary Academy (SCA) is one of the first culinary schools in the nation to offer formal coursework in sustainability, highlighting the value of local and seasonal sourcing. In addition, the program integrates health and environmental sustainability throughout the educational experience.

Instrumental in aligning the values of the SCA team was their experience at Quillisacut Farm School in Rice, Washington. Many of the faculty and students have attended Quillisacut (every year 10 students are awarded scholarships to attend) during the summer to learn the farm-to-table continuum, to understand where their food comes from and how to cook and eat for a better future.

Sustainable Food Systems Practices (CUL 151, 152, and 153) address key food system issues from producer to consumer. CUL 251 and 255 were developed to connect Culinary Art students to the Skagit Valley community and partners. Every summer, students travel to Skagit County. With over 700 farms from which to choose, students tour through various farms and learn first-hand about sustainable production practices. Before returning home, they get their hands in the dirt at La Conner Flats learning how to plant, tend, and harvest on a two-acre parcel of land donated to SCA. Here, the students become attuned to the incomparable quality and flavor of fresh ingredients while enhancing their awareness of environmental issues. Completing the food cycle, the produce harvested that day is incorporated into their menus.

From seed to maturity, SCA students learn all about edible gardening in Seattle Central's Plant Science Lab (PSL)/green house. Focus is on herb identification and the delicious contribution each makes to the recipes prepared in our kitchens back at the SCA. Seattle Culinary Academy also works collaboratively with the Science and Math department to plant and utilize heritage seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, a nationally recognized organization of people who are committed to "collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, while educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity." The plants grown from the Seed Savers Exchange are used in the student run dining rooms to enhance seasonal and local cuisine. The commitment to organic growing in the PSL underscores our ongoing education in sustainable practices and the joys of urban farming.

The SCA strives for a GMO-free kitchen. Unlike most other industrialized nations, the US does not require that labels identify GM ingredients. As such, the process of eliminating GM ingredients from SCA kitchens was quite arduous. The team began by going through the kitchen and inspecting all the labels. Since SCA is mostly a whole foods, made-from-scratch kitchen, they first eliminated the big four – corn, canola, soy, cotton.
If processed food had any of those components, they sought to eliminate the product or buy the same thing produced “organically.” Ultimately, SCA staff want their students to make conscious choices and to better understand the struggle that goes with taking a stand on key issues and how their purchasing decisions affect all of us.

All SCA 'to go' serviceware and containers are 100% compostable. All kitchens have recycling and compost bins for collection.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Food & Dining

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.