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Food & Living Initiatives

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Stanford Dining launched its One Plate, One Planet vision for the next chapter of its award-winning sustainable food program. The program collaborates on many aspects of complex global food systems—from equitable supply chains, climate-smart dining, and regenerative agriculture, to reducing food waste and shifting diets towards plant-forward options. One Plate, One Planet represents these six pillars: 

  • climate-smart dining, especially food waste reduction and advancing plant-forward diets;
  • racial equity and supporting Black businesses; 
  • curbing deforestation through supply chain pressure; 
  • thriving oceans; 
  • catalyzing a circular economy of food; 
  • and embracing systems thinking.

R&DE believes that with each plate they serve, and each meal their students eat, they have the opportunity to create a better future for this planet together. R&DE Stanford Dining demonstrates that sustainable, ethical, and healthy food systems can be deployed at scale, while simultaneously inspiring the next generation to improve how Earth’s precious resources are managed. Their Sustainable Food Ethos outlines the guiding principles and preferences behind their sourcing. 

Central to One Plate, One Planet are three fundamental ideas: 

  1. The importance of cross-campus collaboration. We know that Stanford Dining does not operate in a vacuum, but rather, will be most effective in achieving its long-term sustainability vision through expanding and deepening relationships with other mission-aligned initiatives across the Stanford campus--from individual faculty with relevant subject matter expertise and the Faculty Senate’s strong voice in favor of fossil fuel divestment and ambitious net-zero greenhouse gas targets to the Office of Sustainability and the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.
  2. R&DE’s core values. At the very base of these values is “Students (Customers) First.” Students are the center of everything we do, including working day in, day out toward a campus, a state, a country, and a planet whose natural resources, farm land, clean air, and clean water can truly be sustained for generations to come. Because just one step below that foundational statement about students is the core value to “Build a Sustainable Future.” Woven across the brand tenets you will see many other specific values of R&DE ring true, from “Value & Embrace Diversity & Inclusion” to “Be Results Oriented.”
  3. The power of partnership. Stanford Residential & Dining Enterprises is a proud member of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC), co-founded and jointly led by Stanford University and The Culinary Institute of America. The MCURC is a collaboration of forward-thinking scholars, food service leaders, executive chefs, and administrators for colleges and universities who are accelerating efforts to move people toward healthier, more sustainable, and delicious foods using evidence-based research, education, and innovation. Together, we are working to find best practices and operational innovations that support the MCURC’s vision of cultivating the long-term well-being of all the people and the planet—one student, one meal at a timeOn our own campus, at every meal and in every unit of Stanford Dining, we strive to operationalize the Menus of Change Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus: a holistic, evidence-based framework for menu concepts, operations, foods, and ingredients that is put forward by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Furthermore, the Collaborative’s Collective Impact Initiative has set a collective target across member institutions’ combined protein purchases to reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030. Stanford Dining both learns from and contributes to impactful initiatives such as this within the MCURC.

Stanford Dining’s history of sustainability-inspired partnerships and collaborations spans its membership in the Google Food Lab, Bay Area Sustainable Sourcing Group, and World Resources Institute’s Better Buying Lab. Building on this history, Stanford Dining has recently joined Drawdown Labs, a consortium of private sector partners working to scale climate solutions. Stanford Dining is the first university-based member to be part of Drawdown Labs’ network of bold business leaders taking accelerated climate action. Members include Google, IDEO, AllBirds, Impossible, Intuit, and others. We have also recently joined REGEN1, a consortium of food system leaders in Northern California supporting farmers who are employing regenerative agriculture principles that improve air, water, and soil quality, enhance biodiversity, and prioritize greater inclusion and equity for all.

Project Drawdown ranks reducing food waste the #1 solution for reversing global warming. With the membership announcement in Drawdown Labs, R&DE is building on long-standing initiatives reducing food waste by committing to further reduce Stanford Dining’s food waste by 25% by the end of 2022. The partnership in Drawdown Labs will help shape not only long-term food waste targets but broader food-related climate targets over the months to come.