|Submission Date||June 7, 2016|
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
OP-8: Sustainable Dining
Director of Dining Service
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:
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:
Yes, but very little, and only on occasion. Also donated to Syracuse University's student-run cafe, called "People's Place". Our student group Green Campus Initiatives (with help from our Sustainability Office) has been running an organic garden since 2009. There are three sections to the garden: (1) annuals, (2) orchard, and (3) Food Forest.
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:
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:
Vegan and vegetarian options are offered every day. Items are clearly identified on daily menus for students to see.
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:
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:
Our small Dining Service (operated by SUNY Morrisville) has been excellent at responding to requests for themed meals. Our most successful sustainability-related themed meal was an entire week celebrating Indigenous recipes, with produced sources locally. See the "Honorable Harvest" week. https://www.facebook.com/braidingsweetgrass/posts/287216018136636
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:
- fair trade coffee
- composting, pre-consumer and post-consumer
- napkins made of 100% recycled content
- vegetarian and vegan dining options every day
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:
- ESF, in particular through efforts by faculty in the Landscape Architecture Department, has been active in urban gardens and urban agriculture in Syracuse. Prof. Matt Potteiger in particular, was a co-founder of the "Syracuse Grows" network ( http://syracusegrows.org/ ) and has overseen countless graduate and undergraduate student projects with a focus of sustainable food systems.
- To consolidate interest in food systems in several academic departments, a "Food Studies" minor was created and approved in 2015-2016 and will be available for enrollment in the fall of 2016.
- In the fall of 2016, ESF faculty and students co-hosted (with several community groups, Syracuse University, SUNY Upstate, Cornell Cooperative Extension) the Syracuse Food JUstice Symposium (https://syracusefoodjustice.wordpress.com/)
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:
ESF's Sustainability Office has launched a multi-year "Edible Habitats" initiative (https://esfediblehabitats.wordpress.com/), focusing on native wild edible plants that are both edible to humans and beneficial to native wildlife (insect pollinators or bird habitat). The initiative seeks to increase the diversity of of native plants on campus, and to increase awareness of plant diversity and of "local food system" in a form that is original, and fitting for ESF's identity (edible ecosystems vs cropland). The Edible Habitats initiative hosts a blog with a edible plant of the week, in addition to period outings (Foraging Fridays). The student club "Primitive Pursuits" has also hosted several foraging workshops over the years.
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:
- ESF students founded the Syracuse chapter of the "Food Recovery Network".
- ESF's dining halll (Trailhead Cafe: https://www.facebook.com/ESFtrailhead/?fref=ts ) participates in pre-consumer composting. They generate between two to five, five-gallon buckets of coffee grinds and vegetable peels per day, which a student work-study on staff with our grounds crew picks up from the cafe every day.
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:
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:
- ESF students operate an award winning food recovery and donation program, in partnership with Syracuse University students.
ESF Students Establish Food Recovery Network
SU and ESF Food Recovery Network
Going Green: Food Recovery Network
- Also see 2015 Honors student thesis: http://digitalcommons.esf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1078&context=honors
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:
- Current: pre-consumer composting
- Past: ESF students used to recover cooking oil for Syracuse University dining halls and make biodiesel fuel. For several years, the student-run program operated very successfully, and biodiesel produced was used in campus utility vehicles. The initial core group of students eventually graduated and the program was never fully institutionalized. Although students have not done this as a club activity, biodiesel production is still taught as part of coursework in the Bioprocess Engineering Department. The equipment remains available for a new class of students who would eventually like to re-engage in this initiative.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
- ESF's Trailhead Cafe (the only cafeteria on campus) sets aside pre-consumer waste (mostly vegetable peels and coffee grinds), which is then picked up by a work study student working with ESF's Physical Plant and Facilities team. The food scraps are now (as of fall 2015) mixed in with grounds' residues (leaves, grass clippings), which settle on site for a period, and eventually are transported to a local award-winning, industrial-size composting facility (OCRRA).
- Previously, composting at ESF was carried on by students, who over the years tested two different on-site composting techniques: active aeration and passive aeration. Since the summer of 2015, ESF has decided to institutionalize composting, working as a partnership between its students, dining hall, grounds' team and an external organization for final processing.
- in return, ESF acquires finished mulch and compost from OCRRA, closing the cycle.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
Post-consumer composting has been a student initiative at ESF for the last seven years. In each building there are small green buckets for students, staff and faculty to use. The green buckets are then collected every day by a work study, and brought to a central area on campus for on-campus composting. Over the years, students have experimented with different systems: active aeration, passive aeration, and now vermi-composting combined with mixing into our grounds residues pile (leaves, grass clipping, etc, actively mixed with machinery).
Each building on campus has at least one indoor bin, for post-consumer composting.
Location of bins highlighted here:
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:
ESF's "Save-Plate" program allows individuals, both staff and students, to borrow dishware from the Trailhead Cafe for up to 40 people for an event for free. In its first trial semester (winter-spring 2015), the set of 40 plates, cups and utensils was used approximately 45 times, showing a high success rate. After use at campus events, the plates, cups and utensils are returned to the Cafe and washed and readied for further use.
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:
- The Trailhead Cafe offers an "Eco To-Go" program as part of their increasing efforts for a more sustainable and eco-friendly dining experience. These are reusable to-go containers, which can be sanitized in the dishwasher and reused over again. Students purchase the container only once and when it is turned in, they get credit for another.
- It has been a long tradition that all new students are issued an ESF mug to use at college events as part of the "Lug a Mug" program. Last year students received a reusable dishware kit instead of their ESF mug.
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:
Students and staff using their own mug receive a discount on beverages.
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:
- Coffee, milk, cream, and soy milk are stored in reusable thermos containers, displacing the tiny one-serving throw-away creamers.
- Only napkins made from recycled paper are used.
- Reusable "To-Go" containers: http://www.esf.edu/welcome/campus/reusablecontainers.pdf
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
With help from: Diana Johnson, Trailhead Dining Director.
ESF's Trailhead Café opened to the public on March 26, 2013. It is a collaborative venture between ESF and Morrisville State College (operated by the Morrisville Auxiliary Corporation (MAC) through an ESF Auxiliary Services Division). The kitchen is outfitted with equipment that meets LEED Platinum certification requirements, as it is situated within ESF's Gateway Center, certified LEED Platinum (2014).
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