Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.85
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Merced
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.63 / 2.00 Sean Murray
Associate Director
Student Affairs Auxiliary 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:

The UC Systems Sustainable Practices Policy incorporates sustainable food-services policy and specifies that campuses shall strive to procure 20% Sustainable food products by 2020 while maintaining accessibility and affordability.

For more information on the Sustainable Dining Policy please visit http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/3100155/Sustainable%20Practices


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
Yes

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

UCM Dining has a private garden for which Dining Services integrates the produce grown in the garden with many menu items. The garden produces herbs, tomatoes, eggplants, and much more. The campus also sources food from Fresno food commons vendor which sources produce from local and organic farmers.


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:

The campus launched the Bobcat Eats program, a smaller version of a Farmer’s Market that showcases community farmers that sell their produce. The program includes a farmer that sells their produce and provides information on their farm operation and practice. The program also incorporates an educational literacy component which provides a workshop on food systems and food demonstration with the farmers produce.


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:

Vegan and vegetarian options are offered for all meals. The campus chef has developed 12 different recipes using tofu as well as quinoa, grains, and beans alternately with the tofu recipes. Students are encouraged to suggest vegetarian and vegan recipes to the chef. In addition to having vegetarian options at each of the food stations and locations on campus, dining services has integrated a specialty Vegan pizza daily, vegan chili or soup of the day. The campus also has Meatless Mondays which includes all Vegan dishes and vegan pastries/desserts.


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:

The campus hosts a Meatless Monday program which features a different menu on 3 week rotation for lunch and dinner. All dishes are vegetarian and vegan. Catering also provides zero waste options upon request.


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:

Dining Services provides "wasted themed meals" for catering. Excess food that would have been discarded is re-purposed and used in menus. The catering menus and meals are discounted by dining services. This option is a method used to reduce food waste.

Dining Services has also supported community garden cooking demonstrations. These efforts have included highlighting produce used in every day foods and dishes. Produce from the garden has also been used in catering dishes for donors.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

Ooooby is a community supported agriculture (csa) program that gathers boxes of fresh local, seasonal, organic produce that is delivered weekly & biweekly to program participants who sign up for various sized boxes. The weekly deliveries are on campus and produce is sourced from local farms.

For more information please visit https://www.ooooby.org/fresno/about


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:

In house signage, social media, and the dining services website are the means through which the campus gets the word out about Meatless Mondays and low impact food choices. Dining Services also encourages customers to follow zero waste practices and eat sustainably. Sustainable food purchases are also highlighted on menu’s.


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:

The campus initiates outreach and education on sustainable food systems through the University of California System Global Food Initiative student ambassador who provides outreach and engagement on food systems. Bobcat Eat's, a pilot program, provided educational literacy on food systems and food demonstrations. The campus also provided educational food demonstrations in the campus community garden using the garden produce.


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:

Dining works with campus health promotion services to educate customers on healthy and sustainable choices. The Healthy Campus Network (HCN) is a University of California systemwide initiative that promotes innovative reforms in all dimensions of health and well-being “to make UC the healthiest place to work, learn and live."


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?:
No

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:
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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?:
No

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

The campus is not trayless as of yet, but has introduced smaller portion options and encouraged food tasting to help reduce waste.


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:

At the end of each semester non-perishable food items not used by dining is donated to a local homeless shelter. Dining Services donates as much produce from Fresno Food Commons and Daylight Foods as it can to the Bobcat Food Pantry and Merced County Food Bank. Dining services also makes soups from produce scraps that would have been discarded and donates the soups to the food bank and homeless shelters.


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)?:
No

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
No

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
No

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
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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 Services uses reusable containers for almost 90% to go orders in the Dining Center. They have eliminated disposable utensils and sell reusable packs as a replacement. Lids have also been eliminated from fountain drinks.


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:

UC Merced uses OZZI containers for all carry out food, which must be returned to an OZZI vending machine. Diners pay a $5 fee if they do not return the container. We utilize GET and OZZI reusable containers for TO GO meals and all of our disposables are either compostable or recyclable.


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:

A $0.25 discount for use of reusable mugs are offered as well as a reusable container program that is offered free of charge as long as they are returned within 72 hours.


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:

Dining Services purchases bulk items in their operations to reduce packaged waste generation, and promotes zero waste catering.


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