UMD Sustainable Food Report highlights Dining Services commitment to sustainability
The University of Maryland Dining Services recently released its 2016 Sustainable Food Report, displaying substantial success with many program initiatives, including Anytime Dining, which contributed to the removal of 6.3 million disposable items from the campus waste stream in its first year.
“We are excited about the improvements we see in our program with the launch of Anytime Dining. The changes we made to our system and the structure of the resident dining plans have increased student satisfaction, decreased food insecurity and shrunk our environmental footprint all at the same time,” said Colleen Wright Riva, Director of Dining Services.
Highlights from the report include:
● The goal of achieving 20% sustainable/local food purchased by 2020 was exceeded reaching 26% in 2016
● Terp Farm completed its third season with a total of 29,671 pounds in crop yield and 2,071 total visitors and volunteers
● Anytime Dining removed 6.3 disposable items from the campus waste stream in its first year along with dramatic increases to compost and recycling collection
● Food donations with the Food Recovery Network expanded and increased by 10,000 pounds
● The Campus Pantry expanded its operating hours and fresh vegetable donations from Terp Farm and campus community gardens
In addition to Anytime Dining, new program initiatives included the introduction of a Sustainable Food Symposium to showcase student projects and the development of a Sustainable Food Guide, put together by UMD dietetic interns.
Dining Services has aligned its program with the “Menus of Change” initiative started at the Culinary Institute of America along with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Menus of Change contains fourteen “Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus,” one of which is to “serve less red meat, less often.” In fall 2016, red meat consumption at UMD dining halls reduced by 28%.
"The Menus of Change initiative brings together experts across a variety of disciplines, the foodservice industry and the culinary profession to advance healthy and sustainable food. We are thrilled to be putting these principles into practice and working with students to innovate, leading the way for a more healthful and environmentally-friendly food system on campus," said Allison Tjaden, Assistant Director of New Initiatives.
To continue engagement with the university community regarding sustainable food practices, Dining Services is planning the 3rd annual Harvest Festival on Wednesday, September 27 from 5-8 pm in dining halls across campus. The event will highlight food that is locally grown at the farm by bringing it to campus. Dining halls will feature specials and information about healthy and sustainable eating.