Aramark at University of Florida expands sustainability initiatives

Oct. 7—Aramark at 50,000-student University of Florida, in Gainsville, Fla., recently expanded its sustainability efforts including improving its Farm to School program, creating a sustainable catering menu and installing a herb garden, according to a press release.

The Farm to School program was developed through Aramark's Green Thread environmental stewardship program. It provides locally grown produce to students, such as organic citrus, organic and fair trade coffee, tempeh and local ice cream, while supporting local agriculture. Currently, the department purchases 33% of its produce locally and 25% of total food purchases are either local, organic or third-party certified. To increase local purchases, the department recently connected with new farms that will supply dining with local and organic sweet corn, green beans, cucumbers, herbs, squash, pumpkins and peppers throughout the fall and fresh blackberries and organic watermelon throughout the summer months.

"We are excited to create a more direct link between the producers of food and the consumers of the food in Gainesville,” Dana Falstad, Aramark's sustainability manager for Gator Dining Services, said in the press release. “UF's Farm to School program promotes sustainable agriculture, which minimizes environmental damage and depletion of resources from farming, supports family farms and circulates money within the community."

Another initiative Gator Dining implemented, as part of a partnership with the university's Office of Sustainability, was the installation of four raised-bed herb gardens. The department will be able to use the herbs in the residential dining facilities. Another new initiative for the department was the creation of a special catering menu that focuses on local, organic and third-party certified menu options. The Natural Selections menu features local and organic coffee, milk and juices; entrees featuring grass-fed beef, local chicken and pork; Monterey Bay-approved sustainable seafood; local and organic produce; and an organic desserts section.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources