Fourth Annual "The Best"

Fourth Annual "The Best"

Environmental/Sustainability

Best environmental change we have made
Across three retail locations, we instituted a 95-cent coffee refill policy for any size travel cup or mug instead of having one price for your first cup and a “refill” price for your second, which was hard to keep track of. This policy encourages our neighbors in the building and those utilizing more green practices to keep these good habits up and helps streamline our service at the register. In another location that serves more espresso beverages, we are now offering 10 cents off any drink when customers bring in their own cup.
—Maya Vincelli, assistant director of retail operations, University of Richmond, Virginia

The best change we’ve made is the addition of pulpers in our facilities.
—Joie Schoonover, assistant director of university housing, University of Wisconsin, Madison

We installed new refrigeration technology that will help to reduce energy consumption by up to 22%.
Ronald DeSantis, director of culinary excellence, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Best way to reduce waste or energy consumption
By placing compost containers at each workstation in our multi-platform servery, we have raised employee awareness about the food that gets discarded at the end of a meal period and at the end of the day. This has helped to change production behaviors to avoid waste altogether.
—Patti Klos, director of dining and business services, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

Best overall sustainability program I’ve seen
We initiated the Farm to College Program at the University of Montana in the spring of 2003 with the help of graduate students from our Environmental Studies Program. Our mission is to support agricultural and economic development statewide through the purchase of local food, while also working to serve higher quality, more nutritious food on campus. We also seek to make purchasing decisions that are best for the well-being of those who use our facilities and for the health of the environment by considering the proximity of food sources to our campus as well as fair, ecologically sound and humane production practices.

In addition to our buying practices, we also established an on-campus garden and a self-contained aquaponics system as a way for us to grow some of our own food and offer a learning laboratory for students on campus. And in our dining halls, we use a variety of reusable and compostable to-go containers, napkins, utensils and serviceware.
—Mark LoParco, director of dining services, University of Montana, Missoula

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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