Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.15
Liaison Andrea Trimble
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Virginia
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Caroline Baloga
Sustainability Coordinator
UVA Dine
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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:

Prior to Covid-19, UVA Dine hosted 1 to 3 Farmers Markets per semester with about 10 to 15 different vendors. The Farmers Markets provide an opportunity for students to meet local producers and learn about UVA Dine’s local partnerships. Students are able to use their Meal Plan (via declining balance) as well as other traditional forms of payment at the market. We have hosted these Farmers Markets leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. However during the pandemic, we have not been able to host an in-person Farmers Market. Instead, we have offered a program called Farmers Market in a Bag where students can use their Meal Plan (via declining balance) to purchase a reusable bag filled with locally sourced dorm friendly snacks, such as apples, granola, salad greens, salad dressing, etc. We collaborate with 4P Foods, a food hub in the area to source the variety of Virginia grown and produced items. In the bag, we give students an informational flyer telling the story about the producers featured in the bag.

We also partner with 4P Foods to source local, Virginia grown or produced products in our dining locations along with other local distributors, such as Cavalier Produce and Produce Source Partners.

We have at least one Farm to Fork Dinner once a semester where we offer a primarily local menu featuring products from a variety of Virginia producers, which we source from local distributors.

We regularly offer No Bull burgers in our dining halls. No Bull, a vegan plant-based burger company is based in Charlottesville, VA. Some other local products that we regularly offer include apples in the fall, Kombucha, and a Blended burger (80% grass-fed beef, 20% mushroom patty).
We host a Sustainable Taste Cart every Wednesday during dinner at Fresh Food Co dining hall where students have the chance to sample local products and learn from student sustainability interns about where the ingredients were sourced from.

We have a dining sustainability intern that is devoted to Sustainable Agriculture. This intern works several hours a week at Morven Kitchen Garden, a small vegetable farm managed by a UVA staff member and UVA students. We purchase produce from Morven Kitchen Gardens and feature it within our dining halls. The Sustainable Agriculture intern also partners with the Office for Sustainability to operate a Student Garden, which is a small vegetable garden near one of our dining halls. The intern hosts socially distanced workdays open to all UVA students. This space serves as a space for students to learn about sustainable agriculture, have fun taking care of the garden, and take home produce from the garden to enjoy.

We have a Babylon Micro-farm inside of one of our dining halls, Observatory Hill. Babylon is a small, start-up company local to Charlottesville, VA that was founded by UVA alumni. Our Babylon Micro-farm is a small, in-house, hydroponic farm where we grow microgreens, lettuce mixes, herbs, and other greens. The produce is used in our dining halls and the farm serves as an educational opportunity for students to learn about sustainable food production as well as an investment in a local business. Babylon is a small, start-up company local to Charlottesville, VA that was founded by UVA alumni.


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:

The Castle: The Castle was opened in Fall of 2018. The café was renovated into a plant forward café and encourages students to make sustainable and nutritious food choices. The Castle is a 3 star certified Green Restaurant for its 43 environmental steps related to disposables, energy, food, chemicals, waste, and water. The menu features fresh paninis, salads, grain bowls, infused waters, and rotating local ingredient features. The seating area of The Castle is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, however during typical operation, the cafe features a living plant wall and a mindful eating space for all to enjoy.

Fine Arts Cafe: The Fine Arts Cafe, our flagship sustainability cafe is located in the School of Architecture. The cafe received a 2 Star Green Restaurant Certification for featuring a menu with local and organic ingredients, comprehensive waste reduction and diversion programs including recycling, composting and efficient energy and water appliances throughout the café. Due to COVID-19, the Fine Arts Cafe has been temporarily closed.


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:

We partner with 4P Foods, a local food hub to regularly source food and beverages from l local small and medium-sized businesses. We also regularly report our purchases with SWaM vendors. We define local as grown or produced within 250 miles from campus.


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:

Vegan and vegetarian options are available daily throughout all of our dining halls. On Fridays, each dining hall participates in Plant Forward Friday where at least one station that typically serves a meat entree will serve a plant forward entree instead. We promote plant forward as a style of eating that shifts the focus away from animal products and instead emphasizes vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. In addition to the different menu options, we provide information to students about the benefits of eating plant forward.

Additionally, at least once a semester we have a “Veg Out” day where each dining room participates in a rotating all Vegetarian meal period.


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:

There is a designated vegan station at each residential dining hall. Vegan menu items are marked on menu ids using an identifiable logo. We also have signage marking whether plant-based protein is available at a certain station.


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:

Yes, we include signage throughout dining halls about the variety of our sustainability initiatives. Some examples of signage include local IDs near ingredients that are sourced locally, information about local sourcing, plant forward eating, ways to eat sustainably around campus, and an overview of our sustainability platform. During COVID-19, we have also focused on engagement through social media, our Green Dining website, and newsletters.


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:

We have a LeanPath system that tracks food waste throughout all three dining halls as well as Catering, Concessions, and two other retail locations called Crossroads and Pavilion XI. Through this system, we can identify any trends that exist so that we can best prevent the food from getting wasted in the future.
Prior to COVID-19, each semester we hosted a Weigh the Waste event in one of our dining halls where students would sort their food waste as they left the dining halls into two bins- edible waste and inedible waste. This event serves an educational opportunity to bring awareness to post-consumer 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?:
Yes

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

Trays were removed from residential dining halls at the start of the 2008 - 2009 academic year and trayless dining is still in place today.


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:

We are partnering with a UVA student organization, Food Assist, to recover food from one of our dining halls, Observatory Hill, to be donated to the Salvation Army. Students take unused portions of food (following health and food safety requirements) from our dining hall and bring it to the Salvation Army.

During the COVID-19 shut down, we donated 5,114 pounds of food to food pantries in the area, which included The Haven, Fauquier Area Food Bank, The Salvation Army, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Loaves and Fishes, and to the Employee Furlough Program. The news story about food donations during COVID-19 can be found here: https://www.cbs19news.com/story/41935287/uva-dining-donating-food and the new story about providing meals for our Employee Furlough Program can be found here: https://www.cbs19news.com/story/41987702/furloughed-uva-dining-employees-get-free-meals.


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:

Recycling 100% of cooking oil. U.Va. Dining partners with Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions to recycle our used fryer oil 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:

Pre-consumer food waste locations: All three residential dining locations- Observatory Hill, Fresh Food Co, and Runk Dining Hall, as well as retail locations- The Castle, The Fine Arts Cafe, West Range, Fontana Bakery, John Paul Jones Arena, Scott Stadium, as well as 11 other dining locations. Compost is sent to Black Bear Composting in Crimora, VA and some of this compost is used in our Student Garden across from one of our dining halls. In the calendar year of 2019, 363 tons of compost (pre- and post-consumer compost) was diverted from the landfill and sent to Black Bear compost.


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:

All three of our residential dining locations- Observatory Hill, Fresh Food Co, and Runk Dining Hall have post-consumer composting. Three of our retail locations, The Castle, The Fine Arts Cafe, West Range have post-consumer composting.


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:

In all three of our dining locations, we offer reusable plates and utensils for dine-in meals.


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:

We offer certified compostable to-go containers and service ware for to-go meals in all three of our residential dining halls. We also offer compostable to-go containers and service wares at The Castle, which is a retail location.

Additionally, we offer a Reusable To-Go container program in all three of our residential dining halls that is free to all Meal Plan holders. Students redeem their first container and then return the box after using and we wash and sanitize the reusable to-go containers. The student picks up a clean container at the same time they deposit a dirty container.


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:

We have a Fill it Forward program that is a reusable rewards program, which aims to reduce waste across campus by offering students rewards for choosing to use a reusable. Students can use the Fill it Forward app to track their usage and earn points for doing so! Due to COVID-19, we do not currently allow personal reusables in our locations.


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

Green Restaurant: All three of our residential dining locations are Green Restaurant certified. Observatory Hill dining hall and Fresh Food Co are 3 star certified and Runk Dining Hall is certified. The Castle is 3 star certified and The Fine Arts Cafe is 2 star certified. The Green Restaurant Association is a third-party reporting tool for transparently assessing the environmental impact of a restaurant.

UVA Dine is a part of the Food Insecurity Resource Group, which is a collaboration of university partners, UVA satellite food pantries, and pantries within Charlottesville, VA that meet to work collectively on advancing food security at UVA and in Charlottesville.

Every semester, we have a swipe donation drive called “Stock the Pantry”. Students can donate a meal swipe and then we will donate 1 pound of food to the UVA Community Food Pantry.

UVA Dine is also a part of the UVA Sustainable Food Collaborative. We work with the Food Collaborative to create sustainable food goals and apply them to our operations. There are currently five goals focused on sustainable purchasing, waste, food security, increasing awareness about just food systems, and partnering with community-driven food justice efforts.


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