Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.16
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 24, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Dolores March
General Manager
Hospitality Services, Ancillary Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

ARAMARK SUSTAINABILITY COMMITMENT
http://www.liveitgood.ca/sustainability/Our-Commitment.html

The institution's primary dining contractor, Aramark, has committed to sourcing and serving more responsible and sustainable foods. This includes purchasing more local, ecological and humane foods, sustainable seafood and Fair Trade and Rain Forest Alliance certified products.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS SUSTAINABLE FOOD POLICY
https://www.ualberta.ca/augustana/about-us/departments-offices-and-units/lab/sustainability/campus-initiatives/food

Augustana Campus' self-operated dining services are guided by the following commitments:
- To provide safe, fresh and nutritious food;
- To contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of our home region and the planet, through balanced and responsible procurement decisions; and
- To cultivate within our academic community both a critical awareness of food issues and a sense of celebration around food that is inclusive of the many cultural traditions represented among our students.

To the extent that it is practical, Augustana Campus Dining Services prefers to purchase food that is produced within approximately 200 km, before looking to provincial, national and global sources; and to purchase from farmers and processors who are taking steps towards sustainability.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
No

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:
---

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?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

FARMERS' MARKETS

NORTH CAMPUS FARMERS MARKET
http://su.ualberta.ca/services/sustainsu/projects/farmersmarket/

Hosted by the Students' Union, the University of Alberta Farmers' Market is open to the public and runs weekly from September to April. The market gives the university community easy access to local businesses, products, and food. Customers can directly engage with the people who raise, grow or make their food or create or design goods and crafts.

Simultaneously, the market sheds light on issues of food security, sustainable business practices and food production. Sustain SU's educational efforts include hosting other sustainability-related organizations at the market and encouraging market attendees to engage with the vendors, to ask questions and learn about what they do.

CAMROSE CAMPUS FARMERS MARKET
https://camrosecampusmarket.com/

The Camrose Campus Farmers Market was launched in October 2019 and is open each Saturday in the Forum Building at Augustana Campus. In its first five months it hosted over 70 different vendors.

COMMUNITY GARDENS
The university's North Campus, South Campus, and Campus Saint-Jean are home to several community gardens, whose members include both university and non-university affiliated volunteers. Descriptions of each garden are included below.

SUSTAIN SU CAMPUS COMMUNITY GARDEN
(NORTH CAMPUS)
https://www.su.ualberta.ca/services/sustainsu/projects/garden/

The Campus Community Garden is a completely volunteer run shared garden plot. In addition to creating an exciting nature-driven recreational experience for the campus community our mandate includes:

- Providing the campus community with food that is locally and sustainably grown.
- Promoting urban agriculture by teaching campus community members sustainable gardening practices.
- Contributing food security on campus by providing a portion of our harvest to the Campus Food Bank.
- Fostering a strong and vibrant community of neighbourhood gardeners.

PRAIRIE URBAN FARM
(SOUTH CAMPUS)
http://www.prairieurbanfarm.ca/

The Prairie Urban Farm (PUF) is a one-acre, mixed crop, community food system. PUF believes the lack of resilience of current agri-food systems is a serious concern. PUF aims to demonstrate and provide skill-building opportunities in alternative, regenerative ways of growing food in an urban context. By giving community members access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, PUF is strengthening Edmonton's food security.

GREEN AND GOLD GARDEN
(SOUTH CAMPUS)
http://www.greengoldgarden.com/

The Green & Gold Community Garden is a community garden with a difference - a garden with both local and global benefits. The garden is run by volunteers and their produce is grown using organic gardening practices, with no pesticides or herbicides. The garden is open to the public during twice-weekly markets, when freshly picked produce is available for a donation based on fair market prices. All of the proceeds go towards supporting the Tubahumurize Association in Rwanda.

EDMONTON ORGANIC GROWERS GUILD
(SOUTH CAMPUS)
http://eogg.org/

The Edmonton Organic Growers Guild (EOGG) is an organic community farm where members work year-round to sow, nurture, harvest, donate (and enjoy!) produce straight from the garden. EOGG use a variety of growing techniques, including raised beds and a hoop house for more controlled environments. Composting bins are also on site. Produce goes to members and various local non-profit organizations to help feed those in need.

LE JARDIN COMMUNITAIRE / COMMUNITY GARDEN
(CAMPUS SAINT-JEAN)
https://www.ualberta.ca/campus-saint-jean/a-propos/developpement-durable/jardin-communautaire

The Saint-Jean Community Garden is a community space made up of several plots of land that are allocated each year for gardening purposes, allowing individuals from Campus-Saint Jean, University of Alberta, and the surrounding Bonnie Doon neighbourhood to gather in a friendly and respectful environment to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and /or flowers, to exchange gardening knowledge, to promote urban agriculture, and to foster a better understanding of food systems and respect for the environment. Volunteers use water responsibly, compost garden waste, and don't apply any pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers.

There are 36 plots in the CSJ Community Garden, including a few special plots:
- Community Plot: one plot in which perennials and herbs are grown for the use of all gardeners.
- Collective Plots: one to three plots each season dedicated to serving the greater good of the larger community, through food donation to local food banks and community groups, and by serving educational purposes for local francophone schools and organizations, including for CSJ students, French immersion programs and other French speaking organizations.

All members of the CSJ community garden are expected to work collaboratively, to always place community needs ahead of personal ones, and to spend time working to support the collective plots.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

ARAMARK

The two primary residential dining halls offer a variety of of options for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, including options such as:
- Vegan Station: Hot vegan offerings in a designated station served daily on an ever-changing menu
- Vegan and Vegetarian options available at breakfast including smoothies, beans, tofu scrambles, and more
- A variety of made-to-order stations including pasta, deli, Mongolian grill, and salad bar with vegan and vegetarian options
- Daily vegetarian feature pizza
- Daily vegetarian/vegan soup of the day
- Creative variety of vegan desserts

ARAMARK Plant Powered program: Reducing the amount of meat in our diets has a positive impact on the environment by minimizing energy and water inputs required to produce our food. To capture these benefits, Plant Powered was created. With over 200 innovative and on-trend plant forward recipes created alongside strong messaging, this program is our solution for everyone interested in making positive change through their eating habits.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

In addition to vegan and vegetarian options, Augustana Campus Dining Services offers halal, paleo, low-fat, vegetarian, vegan, celiac-friendly and lactose-free diets, and can accomodate students with any other allergy. Students with specialty diets are consulted at the beginning of the school year and meals are planned to fit.

The dining hall offers three meals a day plus snacks. For each meal, specialty diet options are indicated on the menu. The salad bar offers a diversity of vegetables as well as vegetarian and vegan-friendly protein options, including beans, whole grains, cottage cheese and hard-boiled eggs.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

ARAMARK

Aramark hosts an annual food-waste prevention week where educational materials are placed in the dining hall(s) promoting meatless meals, sustainability and seasonal vegetables.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

Augustana Campus does meatless Mondays once per month.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

ARAMARK

Aramark holds monthly theme buffets in Lister Market. These events keep sustainability in mind, with a focus on fresh vegetables and other locally produced ingredients. Theme meals may include international food or build-your-own meals (e.g. rice bowls, tacos or pizza).

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

Augustana Campus dining hall offers at least one "local lunch" per month, where all the food served is locally-sourced at no additional cost.


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?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
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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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:

ARAMARK

Displays in Lister Market highlight information on local food purchases, sustainable options such as cage-free eggs, and MSC-certified seafood. Signage indicates which dishes and ingredients are local and sustainable. Aramark's Get the Good Stuff program is an easy wayfinding tool that helps customers quickly identify items with reduced sodium, fat and calories. This program was expanded to include signage and menu labels for local, vegetarian, vegan, halal, and sustainable seafood.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

A rotating display in Augustana Campus dining hall identifies examples of local ingredients. This display changes depending on the menu offerings, and is updated for the periodic "local lunch" theme meal. Signs for Fairtrade coffee, tea and chocolate are posted in the dining hall and cafe.

ZERO WASTE SIGNAGE AND DISPLAYS

All dining locations at the university have extensive labeling and signage pertaining to the Zero Waste program. Notable examples include a digital display in the Lister Dining Hall that includes weights of organic waste directly above the scraping station for students to see, 'shadow boxes' containing physical examples of items and where to sort them that are strategically placed near busy dining hall Zero Waste sorting stations, and signage that is customized to the items students will encounter most frequently in the two primary residence dining halls.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

FAIR TRADE CAMPUS OUTREACH

The university's Fair Trade Campus designation is promoted through interactive outreach events, such as tabling at Sustainability Awareness Week or World Environment Day, or "Fair Trade Friday" where discounts are offered to promote Fair Trade products. For all of the campus outreach events Dining Services and the Students' Union provide free or discounted Fairtrade tea and coffee to maximize engagement. Reusable cups are offered for people to stay and try some tea of coffee and converse about what Fair Trade is and what it means to be designated a Fair Trade Campus. Finally, an online toolkit is available for people who host meetings or events at the university, with downloadable signage and information about Fair Trade and our Fair Trade Campus designation.

A Fair Trade workshop was also developed by undergraduate students in a Community Service-Learning course in 2017, and this workshop is now offered at least once per year by members of the university's Sustainable Food Working Group. Recent examples include offering the workshop at Sustainability Awareness Week 2018, and the Student Sustainability Summit 2020.

SUSTAINABILITY LECTURES

The Sustainability Council organizes an ongoing lecture series exploring local expertise and global innovation across all fields of sustainability. The speakers are scholars from the University of Alberta and other institutions. They share new perspectives, and explore the diversity of issues encompassed by sustainability, including: climate change, biodiversity, renewable energy, inequality and food security.

2019-20 speaker that focused on issues of food sustainability was Dr. Mary Beckie (Professor at the University of Alberta) in her talk "Moving Beyond Organic? Ecological Farming and Local Food Trends in Alberta."

GREEN SPACES PROGRAM

The Green Spaces program is a way to help the university's campus community integrate sustainable practices into their work and living spaces. Participants can earn a bronze, silver, or gold certification for their office space, lab, event or living space. Green Spaces has many categories that participants are evaluated on, including energy and water consumption, food, waste, transportation, wellness, social sustainability, purchasing, resource use, and communication.
In addition, there is a Green Spaces certification stream specifically designed for university food vendors, where food vendors are encouraged to procure local and third party certified products, adopt zero waste practices, and offer plant-based and other dietary options.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

Dietary Options: In addition to vegan and vegetarian meals, Augustana Campus Dining Services offers halal, paleo, low-fat, vegetarian, vegan, celiac-friendly and lactose-free diets, and can accomodate students with any other allergy. Students with specialty diets are consulted at the beginning of the school year and meals are planned to fit. The dining hall offers three meals a day plus snacks. For each meal, specialty diet options are indicated on the menu.

Healthy Options: The kitchens use trans fat-free oil in their deep fryers and offer low-fat options with all meals. The salad bar is available with all lunches and dinners and always includes options like cottage cheese, beans and fresh vegetables. Whole grain breads and pastas are on offer. Whole fruit and cereal (both high and low sugar cereals), skim and 2% milk, and pure fruit juice are available at all meals.

Gluten-free: There is a self-serve gluten-free fridge and separate toast station set up for gluten-free diets only.

Lactose-free: There is a self-serve lactose-free fridge.

Augustana Campus dining hall also participates in Health and Wellness Week, where options for healthy eating are showcased by featuring healthy ingredients that can be made into many different meal options and then students have the option to assemble their meal the way they prefer.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

LEANPATH

Aramark has revamped its environmental sustainability platform, Green Thread, to include a new sustainable partnership with food waste monitoring company LeanPath. The University of Alberta was the first Aramark location in Western Canada to implement this new program. It applies to all Aramark-operated North Campus food service locations.

Through LeanPath's easy to use, automated system, Aramark is able to more accurately and consistently monitor food waste, and then identify and make operational changes to reduce waste. These efficiencies reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that would have resulted from the unnecessary production and disposal of wasted food. Consistent data will also allow benchmarking, target-setting, and progress tracking over time. While LeanPath helps to reduce food waste at the source, Aramark also participates in the university's organics collection program to divert residual food waste from landfill when it cannot be otherwise avoided.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

Augustana Campus's cafeteria has been trayless for approximately 9 years. This program reduces the amount of chemical cleaning agents required, and saves half a gallon of water for every tray that does not have to be cleaned. Because students tend to take only what they can eat, instead of overloading their trays, the program also reduces food waste by approximately 30%.

ARAMARK

The two primary residence dining halls are anytime dining (a.k.a. all you care to eat) dining facilities, where students can eat as much or as little as they wish. Each station features a different menu item and students can help themselves to a variety of choices. There are no trays in the dining hall to encourage students to take only what they will eat to promote healthy eating and reduce food waste. If students want to eat more, they can go back for seconds. There are no take out containers in these two dining halls.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
Yes

A brief description of the food donation program:

ECO MOVE OUT

Students moving out of residences are encouraged to recycle or donate whatever they no longer need through the Eco Move Out (EMO) program. Food is collected during EMO in two different ways:

(1) Residents drop off non-perishable food (e.g. canned goods, unopened packaged goods) at EMO donation stations in their residences. The food is collected and then distributed to the Campus Food Bank (http://campusfoodbank.com/).

(2) Staff and volunteers recover frozen, unopened, unexpired packages of food from residence freezers and donate them to Youth Empowerment and Support Services (http://www.yess.org/).

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS LEFTOVERS

Instead of donating leftovers, Augustana Campus Dining Services uses leftovers in the buffet or as ingredients for soups and stews.

FOOD VENDOR LEFTOVERS

Although not run by the institution or its primary dining services contractor directly, it is also worth noting that several other food vendors that lease space from the university offer free items to students that would otherwise be discarded at the end of the day.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

REDUX
http://www.reduxprogram.com/

Redux, a program of Northern Alberta Processors, collects used cooking oil from the University of Alberta. This oil is either converted into animal feed products or into biodiesel.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

ZERO WASTE PROGRAM
https://uab.ca/zero

The University of Alberta has made several commitments to implement and increase organics collection.

The university has committed to sending all organic waste to the City of Edmonton’s new anaerobic digestion facility where it will be used to produce energy and compost. In the Sustainability Plan (2016-2020), the university set a goal to divert 90% of the university’s waste from landfill, and organics collection is a central component needed to reach this goal.

As part of the university's Zero Waste program, organic waste is collected from all food preparation areas on North Campus. Organics are collected in the kitchens, amalgamated at the university's on-site recycle tranfer station, and then hauled to a local composting facility. The program accepts organic waste including: fruit and vegetable scraps, meat and dairy products, tea leaves, coffee grounds and filters, and paper towels and parchment paper.


AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

Augustana Campus participates in the Zero Waste program as well. At Augustana Campus, organics are collected in rolling carts and picked up by the university's contracted waste hauler for composting at the local Camrose facility. This facility cannot accept meat or dairy products. Food service supervisors are actively engaged in monitoring what goes into the organics containers to ensure only appropriate food waste is collected. Each prep station has a clear plastic food scraps pail to make collection easy.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

ZERO WASTE PROGRAM
https://uab.ca/zero

The University of Alberta has made several commitments to implement and increase organics collection.

The university has committed to sending all organic waste to the City of Edmonton’s new anaerobic digestion facility where it will be used to produce energy and compost. In the Sustainability Plan (2016-2020), the university set a goal to divert 90% of the university’s waste from landfill, and organics collection is a central component needed to reach this goal.

Starting in 2014, the university adopted a "zero waste" approach to reducing the amount of waste the university creates and sends to landfills. The zero waste approach includes deploying four-stream collection bins across the university (the bins collect mixed paper, recyclables, organics, and landfill waste).

As of spring 2020, approximately 30% of the university's buildings are fully using the zero waste bins. The first buildings to receive the new bins included food service outlets (Lister Hall, the Students' Union Building, and HUB Mall), and then the program has continued to expand from there.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

Augustana Campus participates in the Zero Waste program as well, with bins for collecting organic waste and recycling throughout Augustana Campus. In addition all available take-out containers are compostable, and since the Augustana dining hall has all reusable dishes, they have customized signage to help students sort their waste and their dishes at the end of their meals.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

DINING HALL REUSABLE DISHES

ARAMARK

In the two primary residence dining halls, only reusable dishes are provided, and there are no take-out containers available.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

Only reusable glass dishware and metal utensils are available for dine-in meals in the Augustana Campus dining hall.

REUSABLE DISH PROGRAMS

NORTH CAMPUS

Since 2003, the Students' Union has operated a reusable dish service open to all university affiliates. The service rents out more than 10,000 items annually for meetings and events. Dishes are rented to organizations to help them to reduce the environmental impact of their events.

CAMPUS SAINT-JEAN

In 2019, Campus Saint Jean obtained a $32,000 Campus Sustainability Grant to launch an on-site reusable dish program that is modeled after Sustain SU’s Reusable Dish Program. This project reinforces Campus Saint Jean’s commitment to contribute to achieving the University of Albert’s goal of diverting 90 percent of waste from landfills by reducing waste, increasing environmental stewardship, and building more sustainable operations overall.
The CSJ reusable dish program provides reusable dishware, including dinner plates, appetizer plates, bowls (small and large), beverage cups (hot and cold), forks, spoons and knives for use during events. The program is free of charge and is available to different user groups, including the University of Alberta’s staff, student groups and associations.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

ARAMARK

All Aramark-operated food service locations exclusively use compostable take-out containers, and compostable cutlery is available at many locations.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

The Café and any catered events at Augustana Campus use Earthware brand compostable containers; organizers of catered events also have the option to choose reusable dishes when they place their order. Take-out meals from the dining hall are largely discouraged; it is only possible with a reusable take-out container that students must pay a $20 deposit to use. Approximately 30 of these containers are rented out each year.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

ARAMARK

Customers with a reusable mug receive a 10 cent discount at retail coffee locations operated by Aramark.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

Customers with a reusable mug receive a 10 cent discount at the Augustana Campus Café. Only reusable containers are provided in the Augustana Campus dining hall.

STUDENTS' UNION

Anyone with a reusable mug or dishware can receive a 10 to 25 cent discount in the SUB food court and other SU-operated dining locations.


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)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

ARAMARK

In the two primary residence dining halls, all condiments are self serve from bulk containers, avoiding individually wrapped packages.

AUGUSTANA CAMPUS

In the Augustana Campus dining hall, students can pay a $20 deposit for a reusable to-go container. Generally, these containers are the only method accepted for taking food out of the dining hall. The only exception is in rare circumstances where a student needs to leave campus or cannot make a mealtime (for example, if a student is ill), in which case a request for bagged lunch can be submitted.

Augustana Campus uses only bulk milk, cream and other condiments in the cafeteria as an additional waste-reduction measure.


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

ARAMARK and Dining Services Information:
Lorraine Huntley
Support Services Coordinator
Hospitality Services
Ancillary Services
Facilities & Operations

Shilpi Gupta, Ana Medrano-Chavez, Melisa Garcia and Michael Yarymowich
Aramark Higher Education

Augustana Campus Information:
https://www.ualberta.ca/augustana/about-us/departments-offices-and-units/lab/sustainability/campus-initiatives/food
Lilas Bielopotocky
Supervisor of Food Services
Augustana Campus Dining Services

Zero Waste Program Information:
Sobia Samad
Zero Waste Coordinator
Buildings, Grounds, and Environmental Services
Facilities & Operations

Shannon Leblanc
Program Team Lead
Energy Management and Sustainable Operations
Facilities & Operations

Students' Union Information:
Michelle Kim
Program Lead, Sustain SU
Students' Union

Campus Saint-Jean Information:
Nada Baali
Sustainability Engagement Coordinator
Sustainability Council and Campus Saint-Jean

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.