Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.43
Liaison Cora Kenfield
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Vassar College
OP-7: Food and Beverage Purchasing

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.25 / 6.00 Cora Kenfield
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Percentage of total annual food and beverage expenditures on products that are sustainably or ethically produced:

Percentage of total annual food and beverage expenditures on plant-based foods:

An inventory of food and beverage purchases that qualify as sustainably/ethically produced:
A brief description of the methodology used to conduct the inventory, including the timeframe and how representative samples accounted for seasonal variation (if applicable):

To calculate responses to OP 7, we used data from Bon Appétit’s 2020.
Please note that the vendors included as institution affirmed are enrolled in Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork program. The program requires that vendors be small (under $5 million revenue), local (within 150 miles) and owner operated. Organic certification isn’t required, because we believe that small, owner-operated farms, where the owner is involved in the day-to-day operation of the farm operate much differently than large farms. Locally Crafted, a program within Farm to Fork, was created for locally owned businesses creating artisan food products (such as tofu) from local or third-party certified ingredients. In 2021, we created a Supplier Diversity program and tapped our regional Farm to Fork Foragers to actively seek out local Minority-and Women-owned as well as LGBTQ+-owned businesses who meet Bon Appétit’s quality and safety standards.
Farm to Fork and Locally Crafted vendors have been visited by members of the Bon Appétit team in person; some during the enrollment process and some on a more regular basis. You can read more about Locally Crafted Requirements at https://www.bamco.com/timeline/locally-crafted/ and overall Farm to Fork requirements at http://www.bamco.com/timeline/farm-to-fork/.
We cook from scratch, including stocks, sauces, and most salad dressings. In order to calculate plant-based foods, we started with total food and beverage spend and removed the following: beef, turkey, pork, chicken, eggs, dairy, seafood, processed cereals, dessert mixes, soda, energy drinks, mayonnaise, packaged snack foods, and bottled water. What remains is spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, canned vegetables (example: canned tomato puree), frozen fruits and vegetables, oils, grains, beans/legumes, spices, and nuts.

Website URL where the institution’s validated Real/Good Food Calculator results are publicly posted:

Which of the following food service providers are present on campus and included in the inventory/assessment?:
Present? Included?
Dining operations and catering services operated by the institution No No
Dining operations and catering services operated by a contractor Yes Yes
Student-run food/catering services No No
Franchises (e.g., regional or global brands) No No
Convenience stores No No
Vending services No No
Concessions No No

Total annual dining services budget for food and beverage products:
$1 million - $4.9 million

A brief description of the institution’s sustainable food and beverage purchasing program:

Sustainability is at the heart of the food and beverage program managed by Bon Appétit at Vassar College. We have a goal to source at least 20% of ingredients, by dollar, from small, local, owner-operated farmers and artisans; prioritize plant-based proteins in the café and offer vegetarian options at every meal; cook from scratch, including stocks, sauces, and soups; prevent and minimize waste in a number of ways; purchase only cage-free and third-party certified eggs, pork from sows raised in group housing without the use of gestation crates for most of their pregnancies (we are the first food service company to make this commitment), and ground beef from Certified Humane operations or small, local farmers. Our seafood is never airfreighted and is purchased in accordance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines for sustainability. At Vassar we purchase from the Reds Best Fish program through our broadliner, Albany Sysco. We have also built on 15 years of climate action with an ambitious new food-focused climate change goal, pledging to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 38% per calorie of food by 2030, without the use of external offsets. The new companywide commitment aligns with the science-based criteria of the World Resources Institute and objectives outlined by the Paris Agreement, which seek to prevent global warming past 1.5 Celsius.
Companywide, we serve only Fair-Trade Certified tea. Our coffee is either sourced from a local roaster, or from vendors that adhere to one of our four accepted certifications, which include three recognized by AASHE STARS criteria: USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, or Certified Bird Friendly.
Last but not least, we communicate with guests through several channels. We use descriptive dish titles with local farm names when applicable and use Circle of Responsibility (COR) icons on menus to convey wellness and sustainability information related to each of these standards. On our guest-facing website (www.vassar.cafebonappetit.com) we share information about our sustainability policies, the local farms we source from and their distance from the campus, and display menus featuring COR icons.

Website URL where information about the food and beverage purchasing program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.