|Submission Date||March 1, 2019|
OP-8: Sustainable Dining
|2.00 / 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:
Tufts Dining is 3 Star Green Restaurant Association certified. We earned 3 out of 4 possible stars for our sustainable practices in all 10 of our locations, which includes Tufts Catering, in October 2016. And, we’ve been working for years on being leaders in sustainability. With this certification, we are the first college/university to be awarded 3 Stars for all locations at once and are one of only 44 universities in the country with Green Restaurant Certification. Green Restaurant Association Rankings are based on energy, equipment, water, lighting, waste, disposables, chemicals, food, and packaging. We continue to work toward more green points wherever we can. Tufts Dining is #TrendingGreen. #DineGreen when you dine with us!
Here are just a few of the ways Tufts Dining supports sustainability on campus:
We serve a variety of organic and sustainably sourced foods.
We use local seasonal produce and locally caught wild fish.
We purchase from dozens of local vendors.
Our compostable napkins are made from unbleached and recycled fibers.
We compost food waste in all dining centers and cafés.
Certified fair trade organic coffee is available in all dining center locations.
We donate leftovers to a local food emergency agency.
All takeout food containers are made from recycled material or plant-based material, or they are fully recyclable.
In addition, our state-of-the-art dishwasher in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center saves thousands of gallons of water a year – enough to fill seven large swimming pools compared to other dish machines. And our conversion to LED lighting in several areas of both dining centers in early 2016 saves between 75-90% on electricity.
Resources and Relationships:
To support sustainable food choices and practices, Tufts Dining has established relationships with a suppliers that provide local sustainable seafood, and with produce suppliers that can provide seasonal farm-fresh produce. Our Marinara Sauce and apple sauce are specially made locally from local tomatoes and local apples, respectively. We also collaborate with a number of campus organizations, including the Tufts Office of Sustainability, Tufts Eco Reps, and New Entry Sustainable Farming Project of the Tufts Friedman School, on sustainability programming.
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:
New Entry, an initiative of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and additional partners, works locally, regionally, and across the country to strengthen local food systems by supporting new farmers. We have in past years purchased some produce from NESFP to serve in the dining centers during harvest season.
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:
There is a CSA available on the Tufts Medford/Somerville campus. Tufts Dining did host a farmers market every fall, but this program was on pause during fall 2018.
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:
All of our residential dining facilities feature complete-protein vegan options on their menus, with our retail locations featuring them as well. The most abundant vegan offerings can be found in our two residential dining centers. Each residential dining center has its own vegetarian station where vegan and vegetarian items are featured for lunch and dinner. Each vegetarian station offers 3 entrees with a minimum of one being vegan. Typically, two of the three choices are vegan. In addition to the entrees, on the lunch menu there is always a vegan veggie burger offered along with an organic whole grain and organic legume and vegetables. This pattern is repeated at dinner with the exception of the vegan veggie burger. A vegan pizza is always available at lunch and at dinner at our pizza station, and our bountiful salad bars include an array of vegetables, greens, and regular as well as an Asian flavored tofu. We also feature alternative dairy milks that are vegan including rice, almond, and chocolate and vanilla soy milk. Vegan desserts are featured on our menus at lunch and dinner.
Eating lower on the food chain is encouraged and promoted at our annual Eat Healty Tufts - A Focus on Flavor dinner featured in March. The Eco-Reps also encourage students to eat meatless during "Meatless Meals" which happens weekly on Mondays throughout the academic year.
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:
Menus of Change
Tufts Dining embraces the principles of Menus of Change and is a member of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative. Menus of Change leverages the combined talent of leaders in the culinary arts, business, public health, and environmental sciences to develop business-friendly solutions to today’s most pressing social and environmental concerns. Top priorities include serving less red meat less often; buying fresh, seasonal, local food as much as possible; moving legumes and plants to the center of the plate; focusing on whole, minimally processed foods; reducing portions and emphasizing calorie quality over quantity; and reducing added sugar, particularly in beverages. Each spring semester, a Eat Healthy Tufts - A Focus on Flavor Dinner is featured to enlighten students on the Menus of Change principles. The majority of the food at this event is vegan and vegetarian.
We host annual dining events to educate students on our sustainability practices and about ways to dine more sustainably. We source local produce in the fall whenever possible and feature various Pop Up dining events to showcase chef-inspired local produce dishes. Many of the Pop Up events feature vegetarian cuisine, including the following: Butternut Bisque, Caprese Salad, Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob, Fried Green Tomatoes, Stuffed Zucchini, Local Tomato Salad, Roasted Beet & Kale Salad. Our annual Sustainable Seafood Dinner features local and sustainable seafood prepared in many delicious ways. And our Waste Less Dinner in the fall serves to highlight the amount of waste generated by food being discarded, and to share the initiatives to repurpose excess food.
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:
As listed above:
We host annual dining events to educate students on our sustainability practices and about ways to dine more sustainably. In place of a harvest dinner, we now prefer to showcase local produce throughout the harvest season by using local fruit and vegetables in the creation of delicous chef-inspired dishes via pop-up events. Our annual Sustainable Seafood Dinner features local and sustainable seafood prepared in many delicious ways. And our Waste Less Dinner and Scrape Your Plate events help enlighten students on how much less we could waste.
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:
We do label our vegan (VG) and vegetarian (VM) foods at our dedicated vegetarian stations and for many of our grab & go products in our retail outlets so customers can make informed selections based on their food preference. We also label products which are organic, specifically our whole grains and legumes. Our local marinara and apple sauce made locally from local produce is labeled at the point of service. Over ripe bananas are frozen and used in smoothies with signage promoting this practice.
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:
New Entry, an initiative of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and additional partners, works locally, regionally, and across the country to strengthen local food systems by supporting new farmers. We serve and collaborate with the people, communities, and organizations in Massachusetts, the Northeast, and beyond!
The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project’s (New Entry) mission is to improve our local and regional food systems by training the next generation of farmers to produce food that is sustainable, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate and making this food accessible to individuals regardless of age, mobility, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. In doing this work, we provide critical training, career development, and economic opportunity to new farmers.
New Entry has been at the forefront of training beginning producers – providing a combination of education, outreach, and field experiences. New Entry is continually looking for the best way continue to provide high-quality programs and services, increase capacity to address regional food systems issues, and share our work with national and international audiences while it navigates its way through an ever evolving agricultural climate.
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:
Tufts Dining has daily halal options at lunch and dinner in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center. For lunch, halal protein choices include either a hamburger or hot dog grilled to order. At dinner, either halal chicken (breast or thigh) or steak is offered. Students should request the halal char-grilled protein from the culinarian at the station, and the protein will be cooked to order. The exact halal item being featured can be found by referencing the Dewick menu online at:
In addition, the chicken thigh meat sourced for the university is halal. When chicken thighs are served, whether in our residential dining centers or retail locations, the information posted will indicate that the item is halal. The chicken breast in some hot food items may also be halal. As ingredient information is posted at the point-of-service for all food served, customers have the ability to review ingredients to determine whether a particular food is permissible according to Islamic law.
Special meal arrangements are offered for Muslim students on meal plans when Ramadan is observed while school is in session. Meal Plan holders are able to convert the value of meals that will be missed (while fasting) into meal money. The meal money can be spent at campus dining facilities or with our off-campus food merchant partners. To qualify, students must first obtain authorization by contacting the Muslim chaplain prior to making arrangements through Tufts Dining Services.
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:
Tufts Dining has phased out use of garbage disposals and instead collects food waste for composting. They also closely monitor trimmings in the central commissary kitchen and unused portions in all of their facilities. They also currently use a waste tracking module in the food production software, Foodpro, to account for and value 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:
As a result of a successful pilot program, Tufts Dining removed trays from the Carmichael and Dewick-MacPhie Dining Centers starting in the summer of 2010. The 13-day Pilot Program ran from March 28 – April 9, 2010 at Carmichael Dining Center, and, as a result, average electricity use was reduced by 17.5% and average food waste was reduced by 30%. A fall 2009 survey conducted by the TCU Senate revealed that 63.6% of students surveyed either approved of going trayless or had no opinion, while 36.4% of students surveyed either disapproved or strongly disapproved of going trayless.
Since the pilot program, dining centers have remained trayless.
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:
Collection boxes for unopened food are placed in residence halls during spring move-out. Donated food is brought to a local food pantry.
An undergraduate student community service club, the Leonard Carmichael Society, has a group called "Food Rescue" that works with Dining services and area businesses to donate left-over but unserved food to local food pantries and shelters. More info at http://sites.tufts.edu/tuftslcs/programs/food-rescue/ For large campus events such as Commencement we donate un-served food to the Veteran's Homeless Shelter in Boston.
And, we repurpose food. When we do have excess food, we don't waste it—we donate leftover meals to Food for Free, which fights hunger in our communities. Waste is becoming less and less at Tufts Dining.
Our efforts don't stop there. We also host zero-waste events—including the President’s Picnic, Matriculation Lunch, and Commencement Lunch, each of which serves thousands of people. And when we do have excess food, we don’t waste it—we donate leftover meals to Food for Free, which fights hunger in our communities.
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:
Our fryolator canola oil is collected by Newport Biodiesel when it is no longer useable to be converted into 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:
The Tufts Composting Program has reduced waste of solid food and non-food products by over 80%. Tufts Dining has been composting since 1994. We compost both pre- and post-consumer waste.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
The Tufts compost system consists of dozens of outdoor compost toters, residence hall compost bins run by the Eco-Reps, individual compost bins managed by eco-ambassadors (staff/faculty) or students living in apartments on or off campus; infrastructure in the dining halls, and composting service at special events.
Boston Campus: There are currently three public locations on the Boston campus which house green composting bins and one location that holds three white bins. Employees and students also have the option to compost in their offices or Posner Hall residence.
Grafton Campus: DVM students have compost buckets set up at each lecture hall to collect compostable waste generated during the day. Offices, Cummings School employees and students, may independently collect their own compost (at home or at school/office) and drop it off at the dump truck parked near the Goat Barn 1/Amelia Peabody Pavilion. Information on what can and cannot be composted is posted on the sign by the dump truck. The farm staff empties this dump truck regularly. Compost registrants complete a survey to evaluate basic knowledge of composting on campus in an effort to minimize compost contamination.
SMFA Campus: There are currently two public locations on the SMFA campus which house composting bins. There is also one outside toter location. Employees and students also have the option to compost in their offices or their Beacon St. residence hall.
Post-consumer waste is composted in three out of eight dining facilities.
Many events on all four campuses now have post-consumer composting bins available through our Zero-Waste events program. This includes the undergraduate matriculation lunch and dinner, the commencement luncheon located on the Medford/Somerville campus, and the President's Picnics on all four campuses. https://operations.tufts.edu/recycle/zero-waste-event-resources/composting-at-special-events/
For more information go to http://operations.tufts.edu/tuftsrecycles/composting/
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:
Our only two dining halls serve reusable service-ware and have gone trayless to reduce food waste.
Two of our retail units provide durable-ware (non-disposable) for eat-in customers.
Reusable Mug and Water Bottle Discount Program
Want to avoid plastic and paper disposable cups? Use a Tisch Library or Fletcher School reusable mug and save 10¢ per purchase on any hot beverage at Mugar Café, Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, Commons Marketplace, Tower Café, Kindlevan Café, and SMFA Café.
You can also bring a Tufts University Choose-to-Reuse water bottle to Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, and Commons Marketplace for a discount on any fountain drink. What’s more, we provide filtered water hydration stations in Commons Marketplace to offer an alternative to buying bottled drinks. Fill up your reusable water bottle for free!
Our reusable mugs and Tufts Nalgene leakproof water bottles are available for purchase at Commons Marketplace.
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:
Many of the containers used at Tufts dining services are certified ASTM, BPI, or are molded pulp fiber material. See attached PDF.
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:
A Reusable Mug and Water Bottle Discount Program is in place
Use a Tisch Library or Fletcher School reusable mug and save 10¢ per purchase on any hot beverage at Mugar Café, Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, Commons Marketplace, Tower Café, Kindlevan Café, and SMFA Café.
You can also bring a Tufts University Choose-to-Reuse water bottle to Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, and Commons Marketplace for a discount on any fountain drink. Filtered water hydration stations are available in Commons Marketplace to offer an alternative to buying bottled drinks. Fill up your reusable water bottle for free!
Our reusable mugs and Tufts Nalgene leakproof water bottles are available for purchase at Commons Marketplace.
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.