Sustainable food sourcing:
Stanford Dining purchases sustainably raised foods from the region as much as possible, supporting a diverse farming economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from transportation, and protecting natural resources. A partnership with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA Organics) helps support about 30 small farms that grow organic produce for Stanford.
Stanford Dining promotes vegetarian and vegan meals, which require less energy and fewer resources to produce. About 40 percent of our produce is organic or regionally grown (within 250 miles). Fish offerings follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommendations; beef is locally, humanely and pasture raised; organic milk from a local dairy is available; eggs are cage-free from a local rancher; and all coffees and teas are Fair Trade certified.
The one-acre Community Farm and over ten community herb-and-vegetable gardens on campus provide organic produce and education about sustainable agriculture for our dining halls and student row houses. The Farm Educator in the School of Earth Sciences teaches students about organic farming both in the classroom and at the Farm. The The produce grown on campus is also sold weekly at the student-run Stanford Produce Stand. To learn more, go to the Stanford Dining Produce Stand website.
All dining halls and many cafés collect food waste, which is composted and returned to campus for use in the gardens, farm and landscaping. In 2007, Stanford composted just over 1300 tons of food waste. In addition, we give leftover usable food to programs such as SPOON (Stanford Project on Hunger) to distribute to community organizations. We are working with the Zero Waste Sustainability Working Team and student organizations to collect food waste and compostable serviceware at all campus cafes.
Stanford Dining reduces waste and recycles whenever possible and educates students through our “Love Food, Hate Waste” campaign. We provide compost and recycling bins and use compostable to-go containers and serviceware. We reduced plate sizes as well as food portions, implemented a voluntary trayless campaign, and hosted a food waste competition to raise awareness and reduce food waste on campus. Waste oil from dining halls and cafés—about 10,000 gallons a year—is converted to biodiesel fuel. Meal plan students receive reusable beverage containers to reduce the use of disposable water bottles and coffee cups.
Raising awareness about sustainability is key to changing behavior. Our education efforts include Sustainable Seafood Week, Environmental Faculty Dinner Series with over 12 faculty members and 150 students in 2008/09, a partnership with the Ethics in Society Program to bring outside experts like Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle to campus, visits to local organic farms with both staff and students, and hands-on workshops in campus gardens.
For more information, go to the Stanford Dining Sustainable Food System website.