UVM Dining is a committed partner in the development of a strong Vermont food system. Local food is an integral part of our operation. Over the past several years, we have worked hard to increase the number of local vendors who provide food items to the campus, as well as integrate Vermont products into our core menu mix. We have adopted the Real Food Challenge definition of local; 250 road miles. Processed food is considered local if over half of the ingredients are from within the 250 mile range. This being said, we believe that closer is better and prioritize Vermont products.
UVM Dining has exercised a long-standing commitment to supporting Vermont companies even if the nature of their product does not allow for it to be sourced locally. For example, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Koffee Cup Bakery. Click here for a full list of our local farmers and producers.
Aside from the constraints of a small state, UVM Dining’s local foods efforts are limited by the fact that Vermont’s primary agricultural output comes during the summer when most of our locations are closed. Without access to large processing and storage infrastructure, the availability of native foods dwindle in the winter and spring months. We are able to purchase and freeze some local produce through Vermont Refrigerated Storage for use later in the year. We have also looked into creative solutions like increasing cold storage on campus by building a root cellar. An undergraduate class even took the first stab at a feasibility study on having a root cellar on campus by Mapping the UVM Food System.
The Real Food Challenge is a national student movement that leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system. The national campaign aims to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets from conventional food to real food by 2020. Real food, as defined by the Real Food Challenge, is food which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth by fitting into at least one of the following four categories:
- Local and Community-Based: These foods can be traced to small farms or businesses that are locally owned and operated. Sourcing these foods supports the local economy by keeping money in the community and builds community relations. The food travels fewer miles to reach consumers. The food is seasonal, and when it is fresh, it often has a higher nutrient content.
- Fair: Individuals involved in food production, distribution, preparation - and other parts of the food system - work in safe and fair conditions; receive a living wage; are ensured the right to organize and the right to a grievance process; and have equal opportunity for employment. Fair food builds community capacity and ensures and promotes socially just practices in the food system.
- Ecologically Sound: Farms, businesses, and other operations involved with food production practice environmental stewardship that conserves biodiversity and preserves natural resources, including energy, wildlife, water, air, and soil. Production practices should minimize toxic substances as well as direct and indirect petroleum inputs.
- Humane: Animals can express natural behavior in a low-stress environment and are raised with no hormones or unnecessary medication.
In March 2012, UVM became the first school in the east and the fifth school in the nation to sign the Real Food Challenge Campus Commitment, a commitment to serve 20% real food by 2020. Right now we serve approximately 12% real food. At Brennan’s, our dining location with the mantra “local - organic - sustainable”, we serve approximately 55% real food! We rely on our interns to review our invoices and categorize our food spending using the Real Food Challenge Guidelines.
Visit UVM’s Real Food Challenge to learn more.
UVM Real Food Challenge Campus Commitment makes the news!
We have been working collaboratively with the Department of Agriculture and the State on their Farm to Plate Strategic plan with special emphasis on Farm to Institution growth. This has gained a lot of momentum and in no small part a tribute to the work that was started at UVM with the signing of the Real Food Campus Commitment and our hosting the first Scaling up to Institutions event in November of 2012. With Sodexo’s prevalence throughout the State, we have a unique opportunity to work with our partners and develop a best practice model that will truly put Vermont First and build on the great work that is happening at UVM and across the State.
Black River Produce
In September 2005 Black River Produce, a North Springfield based distributor specializing in Vermont products, was certified by Sodexo as a supplier of produce. Black River Produce connects us with an ever-increasing network of local farms, some less than a mile from campus! Check out this short video about our partnership.
Intervale Food Hub
The Interval Food Hub, our newest local distributor, located only 2 miles from campus, is committed to offering the best local food available in Vermont, year-round. Their community of farmers and food makers are at the heart of everything they do and most are certified organic or use other sustainable practices. Because of their close relationships with producers, they are able to provide 100% transparency and traceability so that you can get to know where your food comes from, too. Learn more about their producers.
ALL THE Best LOCAL
Formerly known as Best of Vermont, ALL THE Best LOCAL has expanded their product line and company vision to include products from VT, NH, MA, NY, RI, CT. Their mission is to partner with the Best producers in the Northeast, and bring their products to our strategic customer base. They strive to service our customers and producers needs by exceeding their expectations. ALL THE Best LOCAL truly values and respects making long term relationships and has been is our connection to artisan products since 2012.
Vermont Farm to Plate the statewide initiative legislatively directed to increase economic development and jobs in Vermont’s farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. A ten year plan to strengthen the working landscape, build the resilience of farms and food enterprises, improve environmental quality, and increase healthy, local food access for all Vermonters is being implemented by over 350 farm and food sector organizations from across the state.
Sodexo commits to supporting the production and purchase of local food across Vermont. Sodexo helps Vermont accomplish its Farm to Plate goals: to increase the amount of Vermont food products consumed by Vermonters, local food production, and the amount of locally produced food available in Vermont institutions.
The 2014 Farm to Plate Annual Report featured Sodexo as a key businesses working towards sourcing more local food. Sodexo spent $3.2 million on local food in 2014 served to Vermont college and university students at 16 campuses as well as at 4 additional locations.
UVM Dining is a proud member of the Vermont Fresh Network (VFN). Members must purchase from at least three VFN member farmers and/or food producers and agree to source from them on a regular basis. We purchase products from about 40 farms VFN members our local food distributors, Black River Produce and Best of Vermont. Throughout all of the dining halls the VFN logo indicates our membership and dedication to working with Vermont farmers and producers. In addition, Sodexo has been a key sponsor and participant in the Vermont Fresh Network Annual Forum.
In 2013 we were recognized with the Gold Barn Honor from VFN. To qualify as a Gold Barn honoree, we had to achieve impressive localvore standards. Each is required to source ingredients from 15 or more VFN farms. Thirty percent of food purchases must be made from Vermont producers, unless the restaurant spends more than $175,000 on Vermont-grown food annually. Check out our VFN profile.
UVM Dining has a partnership with UVM’s Catamount Educational Farm to purchase wholesale produce, grown by the student farmers in the Farmer Training Program, for use in our dining units. Each year, we meet with Catamount Farm staff to develop a crop plan based on our expected needs the following season. Catamount Farm is growing two acres of crops specifically for UVM Dining in the fall of 2014. Our continued support helps enable the growth of this academic program and strengthens our local food system. Look for the Catamount Farm logo in the dining hall every summer and fall!
Sodexo Expands Ongoing Commitment to More Humane Supply Chain through its Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy
Sodexo announces new commitment to eliminate veal crates from its supply chain and a phased-in approach to sourcing all egg products exclusively from cage-free hens
GAITHERSBURG, Md., February 19, 2015 - Sodexo takes additional steps within its animal welfare policy in U.S. operations today, outlining a phased approach to sourcing poultry, beef and veal from suppliers and fostering improved animal well-being through its supply chain. In a move lauded by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Sodexo specifically announced that it will eliminate the use of veal crates from its supply chain by 2017 and extend its previous commitments to source all of its shell eggs from cage-free systems by now moving to source all of its liquid eggs solely from cage-free hens by the end of 2020.
“By committing to source all egg products exclusively from cage-free hens, Sodexo has built on an already strong set of animal welfare policies, with this latest pledge affecting the removal of 750,000 hens annually from extreme confinement in battery cage systems,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO, the Humane Society of the United States. “We appreciate the company’s prior commitments to source shell eggs from cage-free operations and its pork from producers who do not use gestation crates. But today’s announcement is surely one of the biggest decisions in the food sector from an animal welfare perspective.”
Every year, more than 60 billion animals are raised worldwide for food. The intensity and level of magnitude involved with animal production tends to create pressure for efficiencies, but unfortunately they are too often associated with significant and widespread animal welfare concerns. Appropriate animal husbandry practices from transportation, to housing, feeding and veterinary care play a key role in reducing those concerns.
Sodexo’s Global Animal Welfare Policy provides general guidelines and standards, which are often exceeded in U.S. operations. “With an annual spend of nearly $900 million on animal proteins in the U.S., Sodexo has established sustainable purchasing practices with suppliers that drive humane treatment of animals throughout our supply chain,” said Deborah Hecker, vice president, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Sodexo. “We see animal welfare, including these new measures for cage-free eggs and crate-free veal, as a key component of a sustainable supply chain alongside food safety, food security, nutrition and science-based environmental practices.”
Sodexo currently sources about 20 million pounds of liquid eggs annually, from 750,000 egg-laying hens. It will now move to sourcing liquid eggs only from cage-free hens with a phased-in approach that will be complete by the end of 2020. The company’s 2012 commitment to eliminate gestation crates from the pork supply chain by 2022 remains intact.
In a series of next steps to protect and promote improved treatment of farm animals, Sodexo also is committed to working with suppliers to ensure the use of pain relief protocols, particularly as it relates to de-horning, castration and tail-docking procedures, which the company is working to eliminate.
Sodexo first reinforced its commitment to conducting business in a responsible and sustainable manner in 2009 by launching the Better Tomorrow Plan—its global roadmap to sustainability. That plan specifically called on the company to work with its suppliers to improve animal welfare in all the countries where it operates by 2015. In line with its ongoing progress, Sodexo continues to require passing scores on annual third-party animal welfare audits from its fully integrated suppliers.
For a company with operations in 80 countries at more than 32,700 sites, addressing animal welfare is a tremendous undertaking, largely due to the complexities of a global supply chain and differences in agriculture practices around the world. Despite the challenges, building valued partnerships with affected suppliers, leading authorities and credible organizations like HSUS is instrumental in achieving progress and educating stakeholders about the issue.
While the work is not yet complete, Sodexo is proud of the advances it continues to make and the recognition it has achieved. This month, for example, Sodexo was ranked for the eighth consecutive year as the best-performing company for economic, social and environmental performance in the benchmark RobecoSAM Sustainability Yearbook 2015, earning it Industry Leader and Gold Class recognition. The industry award specifically calls out a concern for animal welfare and ethical sourcing as driving factors for global supply chains.
Visit SodexoUSA.com to learn more about our commitment to animal welfare and for regular updates on our performance.
Sam Wells | Sodexo, Inc. | 301 987 4893
Josh Balk | The Humane Society of the U.S. | 301 721 6419
As of July 2014, UVM Dining serves 100% cage-free, Certified Humane shell eggs on-campus! Sodexo is committed to cage-free eggs on a national level.
Sodexo has committed to serving only sustainable seafood nationwide by 2015. UVM Dining has ben transitioning towards sustainable seafood in collaboation with our distribtors for the past few years. We are committed to offering this better choice by utilizing a flexible full line of products, purchased at fair market value and sourced from providers that ensure the highest level of quality assurance and food safety along with adherence to global standards of excellence for environmental responsibility and accountability in seafood. We have adopted the Real Food Challenge definition of sustainable seafood, which includes seafood that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, Salmon Safe, Transitional Organic by OIA or not on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide “Avoid” list.
Sustainable Seafood @ Sodexo (video)
Each semester UVM Dining hosts memorable evenings by showcasing cuisine and decorating their locations to depict different North American Regions. One of our most loved tour themes is “Taste of Vermont”, a dinner in the fall dedicated to celebrating Vermont products prepared using traditional Vermont recipes.
UVM Dining hosts week long “fests”, celebrating some of Vermont’s most beloved products by integrating them into menus across campus for the week.
- Farmfest includes recipes with Vermont produce and pays tribute to the farmers who grow it. Farmfest events have included guest appearances from farmers/producers such as: Misty Knoll Farms, Sam Mazza's, Lewis Creek Farms, Champlain Orchards, Vermont Soy, Norris Berry Farm and Black River Produce.
- Applefest showcases the apples from Champlain Orchards that we use year-round on campus. Bill Suhr, owner of Champlain Orchards is a graduate of the University of Vermont.
- Cheesefest highlights Vermont produced cheeses in recipes and sampling events with cheesemakers like Grafton Village Cheese, Vermont Creamery, Cabot Creamery, and Shelburne Farms.
- Maplefest honors the springtime tradition in Vermont of maple syrup production. Recipes across campus are sweetened with Vermont maple syrup and events are held that test the attunement of your maple palate.