Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.89
Liaison Eva Rocke
Submission Date June 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Montana
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
2.00 / 2.00 Eva Rocke
Sustainability Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, 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:

UM Dining operates the Campus Dining Farm to Market, hosted in the Market located in the University Center (student union).

UM Dining has partnered with the Western Montana Growers’ Cooperative to establish a workplace CSA program at UM. UM Dining has coordinated with Human Resource Services to provide a payroll deduction option for employees who want to purchase a CSA share. Students, faculty and staff can order summer or fall CSA shares through the Co-Op and have them delivered to campus once a week throughout the summer and fall (May-Sept). UM is also a commercial customer of the Western Montana Growers Co-Op and serves produce from WMGC in several of our dining facilities.

UM operates two diversified gardens, an apiary, an orchard, an indoor microgreen operation, and six Welsh Harlequin egg-laying ducks. Together, these provide thousands of pounds of fresh food to our dining centers each year and function as learning laboratories for students and visitors. Additionally, we have a half acre garden on South Ave which has tripled our growing space since it was established in 2016 and added more opportunities for students and community members to get involved in campus agriculture.

Just 3 miles north of campus, the student-operated PEAS Farm grows food for CSA members and the local food bank. It is run through a partnership between the Environmental Studies program at UM and local food-focused nonprofit Garden City Harvest. K-12 school kids take field trips to this 10 acre farm where they learn what sustainable farming looks like. UM students can take farming apprenticeship credits on the farm or courses focused on agriculture education and agroecology. Coffee grounds from all UM-operated coffee outlets are collected each week and taken to the PEAS farm for composting.


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 support disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through its food and beverage purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:

UM Dining purchases from local businesses and SMEs whenever possible. An example of this is our choice to purchase sustainably-harvested tuna from a smaller company than purchasing line caught tuna from Chicken of the Sea, which has recently tried to market a "sustainable" line of tuna. We also regularly purchase animals (hogs and cows) from local farms, including Bandy Ranch which is owned by UM and operated by a local family that has been farming in Montana for decades.


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events or promote plant-forward options?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:

UM Dining has integrated some creative practices into its menu to reduce the volume of meat consumed by customers. Our “blended burger” is made with Montana-raised grass-finished beef and diced mushrooms. This adds to the nutritional content of the burgers while reducing the amount of red meat consumed in the Food Zoo, our primary cafeteria on campus. We have also signed on to the Menus of Change initiative which promotes smaller portions of meat and more plant-centric plates.

Delicious, protein-complete vegan entrees are always options for lunch and dinner at the Food Zoo. We prefer to include creative vegan entrees rather than vegetarian entrees on our menu as a way to provide healthier options and further decrease our environmental footprint.

The Food Zoo offers a service line with a variety of plant-based products such as vegan cream cheese, milk alternatives such as pea protein milk and coconut milk, vegan yogurts, and vegan butters.

The Food Zoo offers a vegan tofu scramble at breakfast every day as a plant based protein source. The Food Zoo also offers vegan chili, the constant vegan protein option of beans and rice, a vegan “burger” on the deli line, and a prepared vegan salad daily. The Food Zoo has over 60 vegan entrees on rotation in their 16 week menu cycle and the main line offers a vegetarian or vegan entrée daily. Usually the entrée is vegan rather than vegetarian. Most of the vegetable sides served in the Food Zoo are vegan as well.


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:

• The Food Zoo Dining Room offers, at a minimum, a vegan lunch and dinner entrée every weekday.
• Every weekday one of 9 new vegan and gluten-free salads will be available on the Vegan Salad Bar.
• Vegan Salad Bar every day in the Food Zoo.
• Retail Dining also offers a vegan entrees at all UDS operated operations in the Food Court
• Catering always has a vegan option


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labelling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

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

Signage has been strategically placed around campus convenience stores to identify healthier, local, and low-impact food options. In the food zoo and in the food court, both operated by UM Dining, signs accompany all meals that include local, regional, or on-campus produced ingredients.


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:

Our Food Zoo dining hall uses the LeanPath food waste tracking system to keep track of pre-consumer food waste. We have been using LeanPath since 2016. UM Dining transitioned to trayless dining in 2008 and hasn't looked back. All food that is prepped for meals gets weighed by chefs and compared to post-consumer food waste weights. All organics and food waste from the kitchen and cafeteria are composted with Missoula Compost Collection, a local alumni-owned business that takes compostable materials to our city-owned industrial compost facility.


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:

During Earth Week 2008, in an effort to reduce waste, save money and promote healthy eating, UM Dining Services turned their main dining facility, the Food Zoo, into a trayless facility. Without trays, students generally take less food, and therefore, waste less!
In one week:
Before Trayless - 3148 lbs
After Trayless - 2376 lbs


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:

UM Dining donates more than 20,000 lbs. of leftover food to the Missoula Food Circle every year. The Food Circle is a food recovery program organized by the Missoula Food Bank. The Food Circle safely collects excess prepared and perishable food from local establishments. Volunteers repackage and distribute the food to people in need and local non-profit agencies.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

All pre-consumer food waste from the Food Zoo (primary campus cafeteria) and from UM Catering is composted. Additionally, all coffee grounds from campus are composted. Food waste is collected in the kitchens and then picked up by Missoula Compost Collection and composted at Garden City Compost.


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:

All food waste, including pre- and post-consumer food waste from the Food Zoo is picked up by Missoula Compost Collection and taken to Garden City Compost in Missoula. Coffee grounds from our coffee shops on campus are taken to the PEAS Farm to be composted and the school receives finished compost in return.


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:

On March 1, 2021, UM launched a post-consumer composting program in the University Center Food Court. The Food Court manager has worked to shift all single-use disposables to industrially compostable options, making composting at this location even easier. In this single location on campus, in the first month of the program, we diverted around 450 pounds of waste from the landfill!

We also compost all of the post-consumer food waste generated in the Food Zoo by having guests place their plates on the conveyer belt that takes it to the dish room. Once behind the scenes, UM Dining staff scrape all food waste into compost buckets that are collected by Missoula Compost Collection.


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:

All of our plates, bowls, cups, and utensils are reusable.


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:

Reusable to-go containers are available to students for a $5 fee. UM Dining will wash the containers and provide a steady supply of sanitized containers users to exchange a used container for a new one.

The majority of our to-go containers and utensils are 100% compostable. As we expand our post-consumer composting program in the UC, we are working towards exclusively purchasing compostable containers. Recently, Coca-Cola committed to supplying us with compostable straws, eliminating one more source of single-use plastic from our campus waste stream.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
Yes

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

All dining facilities offer reusable mug discounts on coffee. Customers simply present their mugs to get the discount. We also have a Dollar Coffee Club, where students who pay a $3 membership fee get a $1 drip coffee when they bring their reusable mug. The proceeds from the Coffee Club membership go towards a sustainability scholarship.


A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:

UM, as part of the Montana State University system, is included in the health and wellness incentive program offered to all state employees. This program includes nutrition workshops, menu planning, and fitness goals and challenges. UM Dining regularly offers meal options that are culturally diverse and provide educational opportunities to customers. This includes special events and meals that accompany religious or spiritual holidays, Native American foods and cultures, and supporting the International Food Festival each spring. The Food Zoo features a rotating menu of culturally diverse food options. The “Etcetera” bar offers dishes such as Bibimbap, Poutine, and Ramen while weekly pop ups feature Latin American cuisine, Indian Street Food, and South East Asian dishes. This could be added in.


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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