Stanford Dining is committed to providing sustainably produced, locally-produced foods whenever possible, reducing food waste and composting and recycling. By doing these things, we decrease pollution from pesticides and chemicals, reduce energy use, support local small businesses and provide fresh and delicious meals.
The largest provider of food services on campus, Stanford Dining manages about half of the food service for undergraduate residences and about 25 percent of the university’s cafés. Several other campus food services, such as co-ops, row houses and private cafés, are also committed to sustainable purchasing and practices. The Sustainability Working Team (SWT) for Food and Dining was created in 2008 to bring together various food service operators to collaborate on sustainability programs campus-wide..
Stanford’s food choices make a difference:
Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE), which includes Student Housing, Stanford Dining, Hospitality & Auxiliary Services and Stanford Conference Services, serves more than 4 million meals annually.
Goals & Results
Stanford Dining aims to continually improve its sustainable food, waste reduction and composting programs. The organization, which has a Sustainable Foods Coordinator, and works closely with the Farm Educator in the School of Earth Sciences, also works to educate the university community about sustainable dining, raise awareness of campus sustainability goals and change behavior. Selected results include:
- About 40 percent of Stanford Dining produce is organic or regionally grown (within 250 miles).
- Stanford Dining’s partnership with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA Organics) helps support about 30 small, organic farmers in Salinas, CA that grow organic produce for Stanford Dining.
- The campus Community Farm and over 10 community herb-and-vegetable gardens provide organic herbs and produce to dining halls and row houses. The Farm Educator on campus teaches students hands-on organic farming techniques in these spaces.
- Stanford Dining held a Sustainable Seafood Week in November 2008 which showcased sustainable seafood and brought experts into the dining halls to educate students about the state of the oceans and fisheries. In 2008, 74% of Stanford Dining’s seafood was in the Best or Good Category of the Seafood Watch Card and in 2009, our goal is 100%.
- The student-run Stanford Produce Stand provides local and organic produce- some of which is grown on campus- to the community every Friday.
- The Sustainability Working Team (SWT) for Food and Dining aims to reduce deliveries on campus, enhance access to sustainable food suppliers, and provide more comprehensive sustainability education to the campus community.
- In 2008, Stanford composted just over 1300 tons of food waste. All dining halls and row houses and at least 8 cafes compost food waste on campus.
- About 10,000 gallons of waste oil from dining halls and cafés is converted to biodiesel fuel each year.