|Submission Date||March 10, 2017|
OP-8: Sustainable Dining
|1.88 / 2.00||
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:
Skidmore Dining Services is committed to reducing its negative impact on the environment and promoting the health of its students and that of the local economy. Through our efforts, we strive to make informed decisions that will preserve the choices of future generations by integrating values of sustainability into our daily operation and decision-making process. For instance, we are determined to bring local produce to the College community: food items like bread, cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, eggs, apples, beef, and pork are sourced locally and delivered on a daily basis.
Skidmore has committed to serving 25% Sustainable Food by 2025. Skidmore identifies sustainable food as (adopted from the Real Food Calculator, 2014):
- Local and Community-Based: These foods can be traced to farms and businesses that are locally owned and operated (within 250 miles).
- Fair: Individuals involved in food production, distribution, preparation--and other parts of the food system—work in safe and fair conditions; receive a living wage; are ensured the right to organize and the right to a grievance process; and have equal opportunity for employment.
- Ecologically Sound: Farms, businesses, and other operations involved with food production practice environmental stewardship that conserves biodiversity and preserves natural resources, including energy, wildlife, water, air, and soil.
- Humane: Animals can express natural behavior in a low-stress environment and are raised with no hormones or unnecessary medication.
- Conscientious: Businesses operations are guided by the principles of sustainability. Certified Benefit Corporations and organizations that routinely publish Social Responsibility Reports that prove consistent ethical and transparent business practices will be considered.
Foods that contain ingredients that have been proven harmful to human health or are produced under egregious labor conditions will not be considered Sustainable Food.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:
Skidmore Dining Services purchases all food grown in the Skidmore Community Garden. The student garden manager delivers freshly harvested food to the dining hall multiple times a week throughout the growing season (May-November). The Sustainability Office, Dining Services, and the Community Garden have developed a process for selecting a fair price for food grown at the garden, and the money earned throughout the growing season is used to purchase seeds, equipment, and fund garden events throughout the year.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, and/or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:
A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:
Saratoga CSA: Students, staff, and faculty may sign up for the 12-13 week Saratoga CSA, which is fulfilled by 9 Miles East Farm and Slack Hollow Farm. Those who sign up for the CSA pick up their share of fresh, local produce every Friday between 3-5 p.m. in the Dining Hall atrium. About 100 CSA shares are purchased by students, faculty, and staff each year.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a vegan dining program that makes diverse, complete-protein vegan options available to every member of the campus community at every meal?:
A brief description of the vegan dining program:
Skidmore offers diverse, complete protein vegan and vegetarian options at every meal. Emily's garden, a station in the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, serves only vegetarian and vegan options.
Skidmore Dining Services will amend menus for known dietary restrictions and preferences, and Skidmore provides a small kitchen where students can prepare their own meals for specific allergy or dietary needs.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
A brief description of the low impact dining events:
Every Wednesday, Skidmore Dining Services hosts Sustainable Dining Day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are adapted to serve more local and seasonal foods. We also aim to reduce meat protein offerings by 60-70%. The meats offered during Sustainable Dining Days are sourced from local family farms. Students promote the effort by posting informational signage throughout the dining hall. Signage and outreach efforts indicate the source of menu items, labeling standards and definitions, food justice challenges, nutrition facts, and more.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:
Skidmore Dining Services hosts a farmer's market themed dinner every Fall semester. The menu highlights locally sourced food including meat proteins, locally grown vegetables, dairy products, and value-added products. Local producers and distributors are invited to the dinner for a meet-and-greet with students.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a sustainability-themed food outlet on-site, either independently or in partnership with a contractor or retailer?:
A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labeling and signage in dining halls?:
A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:
Factoids are posted throughout the Dining Hall to inform customers of the source and certifications of foods being served. Dining Services also publishes information about the College's sustainable food efforts and recommends practices to minimize food waste and encourage more sustainable eating habits.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:
The Skidmore Sustainability Office offers three Sustainable Food Internships each semester. Each intern works with the Sustainability Office, Dining Services, and peers to calculate the total amount of Sustainable Food (as defined in the Campus Sustainability Plan) purchased by Dining Services. The interns also interrogate Skidmore's Sustainable Food metrics, identify potential partnerships with local growers and distributors, and serve as a member of the Campus Sustainability Subcommittee Food Working Group, a subgroup of the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee. Each intern writes a final report analyzing Skidmore’s food purchases and offers a set of recommendations to help Skidmore achieve its Sustainable Food goal.
Each intern is encouraged to communicate with local growers, producers, distributors, and other institutions as they prepare their final report. Ultimately, each intern will gain a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges of localized food distribution networks.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have other sustainability-related initiatives (e.g. health and wellness initiatives, making culturally diverse options available)?:
A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:
Skidmore's sustainable dining communications managers develop monthly education campaigns to increase awareness of a variety of food sustainability issues. Recent campaigns focused on the ecological impacts of food choices, food justice challenges, and the health benefits of a more sustainable diet.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor participate in a competition or commitment program and/or use a food waste prevention system to track and improve its food management practices?:
A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:
The College completes a post-consumer food waste audit in our Dining Hall almost every year, including a very comprehensive week-long pre and post-consumer food waste audit every 3-4 years.
Food waste audits are typically conducted in two parts. First, a blind post-consumer audit is completed in the "back of the house" to determine how much food waste is generated each day. Then, students announce the results of the audit and challenge diners to change their habits to reduce food waste. Finally, we conduct a secondary food waste audit in the "front of the house" to engage diners in conversation about the impact of our food choices, food insecurity and access issues, and the GHG emissions generated by food waste.
Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented trayless dining (in which trays are removed from or not available in dining halls) and/or modified menus/portions to reduce post-consumer food waste?:
A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:
The trayless program in the dining hall began in 2006 and has significantly reduced food waste, saved thousands of gallons of water and cleaning supplies, energy, as well as curbing over consumption. Other efforts include attention to serving size, where dining staff use scales and portion controlled scoops and spoons. We also pre-plate meals as much as possible on five-inch plates to control waste and to suggest an appropriate balance of protein, vegetables, and starch.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
A brief description of the food donation program:
FeedMore is a hunger-relief program that collects surplus food from the Skidmore dining hall and delivers it to local soup kitchens and food pantries. Students-leaders organize donation drop-offs several times each week, and the program continues into the summer with the support of Dining Services staff. The program donated over 3,500 pounds of food during the 2015-16 Academic Year.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses (e.g. converting cooking oil to fuel, on-site anaerobic digestion)?:
A brief description of the food materials diversion program:
A certified contractor collects the College's waste cooking oil for conversion to biodiesel.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
Dining Services post-consumer composting program is limited to coffee grounds because of infrastructure and permitting constraints. Coffee grounds from all campus dining locations are collected and composted in Skidmore's student-run compost program.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
A brief description of the reusable service ware program:
Skidmore Dining Services and Skidmore Catering use reusable service ware in the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall and at on-campus catered events. Anyone at the College may request reusable flatware for catered events.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor provide reusable and/or third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals (in conjunction with an on-site composting program)?:
A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:
Anyone with a reusable mug receives a 20-cent discount on beverage refills. This discount is available at all three campus cafes ( Atrium Cafe, Burgess Cafe, and The Spa).
Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented other materials management initiatives to minimize waste not covered above (e.g. working with vendors and other entities to reduce waste from food packaging)?:
A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.
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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.