Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.15
Liaison Lori Collins-Hall
Submission Date March 5, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Sterling College (VT)
OP-7: Food and Beverage Purchasing

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.95 / 6.00 Elizabeth Chadwick
Director of Dining Services
Student Life
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Percentage of dining services food and beverage expenditures on products that are third party verified under one or more recognized food and beverage sustainability standards or Local & Community-Based:

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (expenditures on conventional animal products)? (If data is not available, respond “No”):

Percentage of total dining services food and beverage expenditures on conventional animal products (meat, poultry, fish/seafood, eggs, and dairy products that do NOT qualify in either the Third Party Verified or Local & Community-Based category):

A brief description of the sustainable food and beverage purchasing program, including how the sustainability impacts of products in specific categories are addressed (e.g. meat, poultry, fish/seafood, eggs, dairy, produce, tea/coffee):

Sterling College has the most progressive food service of any college in the country. We grow a significant percentage of our own food, and source as much local food as possible. We do not use a food-service company. Instead, our chefs work alongside students to cook healthy, creative, and delicious meals.

Our kitchen best demonstrates this philosophy through composting, conserving energy and resources, eating seasonally, preparing our food from scratch, and recycling.

An inventory of the institution’s sustainable food and beverage purchases that includes for each product: the description/type; label, brand or producer; and the category in which it is being counted and/or a description of its sustainability attribute(s):
A brief description of the methodology used to conduct the inventory, including the timeframe and how representative samples accounted for seasonal variation (if applicable):

Sterling College has participated in the "Real Food Challenge" in the past and continued to track the kitchen purchases to maintain a consistent inventory. This data set is from the 2019-2020 academic year and stops at the end of March of 2020 as kitchen operations ceased with COVID-19 lockdown.

For conventional animal products, only ham and turkey deli purchases were under this category, so these have been highlighted green in the spreadsheet. A lot of the ratings are hyper-focused and relative to big Ag - we purchase quite a large amount locally, and while the folks we buy from implement best practices - the majority of them cannot afford to be certified by these larger corporate firms. Rather than do what the RFC spreadsheet does - duplicates of items, we didn't bother re-typing duplicates. These are all of the items and their categories that we've purchased for these date ranges. All spices are natural - but not certified organic, so we didn't spend time typing all of them out (we order about 40 different spices over the course of 3 months).

Percentage of total dining services expenditures on Real Food A (0-100):

Percentage of total dining services expenditures on Real Food B (0-100):

Which of the following food service providers are present on campus and included in the total food and beverage expenditure figures?:
Present? Included?
Dining operations and catering services operated by the institution Yes Yes
Dining operations and catering services operated by a contractor No No
Student-run food/catering services No No
Franchises (e.g. national or global brands) No No
Convenience stores No No
Vending services No No
Concessions No No

A brief description of purchased food and beverage products that have other sustainability attributes not recognized above :

Additional percentage of dining services food and beverage expenditures on conventional products with other sustainability attributes not recognized above (0-100) :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The Sterling Kitchen actively breaks the stereotype for campus dining by pushing the envelope of what a healthy, systems-focused dining experience can be. The Kitchen intentionally and reciprocally integrates operations with the Sterling Farm to meet the needs of the land and the people it supports. Additionally, we are dedicated to participating in the rebuilding of the Northeast Kingdom’s food system and prioritize sourcing of products grown in the local community, starting with those produced on Sterling’s own farm.

The Sterling Kitchen intentionally designs and refines systems to increase sustainability and strengthen Sterling’s food system and working lands, collaborating closely with the farm staff. As the Sterling Kitchen’s ambitions and outputs grow, the kitchen streamlines operations and upgrades facilities to simultaneously promote safety and efficiency, and maintain the integrity of the food it produces.

The Kitchen supports and implements food and land conservation practices, and serves food in a welcoming, inclusive, educational space. While we aim to raise awareness about the impacts of our food choices, we emphasize that values-based eating does not imply or permit judgmental dining, but prioritizes thoughtful and respectful dialog. Because it is embedded within an environmental stewardship college, the Sterling Kitchen is charged with educating about the environmental, economic, and social health of our local food systems, as well as about contemporary principles of nutrition. It is an intellectual, social, and community-centered space where students, faculty, and staff connect. It is also a primary site for the intentional connection of Sterling’s academic curriculum with food, community work, life, and play. We are dedicated to maintaining this space to model, facilitate and encourage a commitment to social and environmental justice principles within our food and agricultural systems.

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.