RePost: UVM On Track to Surpass Goal for “Real” Food Purchases

Exciting news from University of Vermont: the 5th signatory in the country to the Real Food Challenge, a commitment to achieve 20% Real Food purchasing by 2020, released this past week that they are currently at 19% Real – and it’s only 2016!

The Real Food Challenge is one way UVM Dining supports UVM Food Systems Initiative’s aim to “establish itself as a global leader in food systems education, research and collaboration, building on decades of food systems leadership” by 2020.  Follow the UVM Dining Blog or @uvmdining on Instagram to stay in the know on UVM Dining’s other food systems work.

Congratulations to the members of UVM’s Real Food Challenge Working Group, past and present, as they continue build new benchmarks for campus dining.

Link to story on UVM Food Feed here, or read story pasted below.

__________________________________________________________

By Alison Nihart
June 16, 2016

The University of Vermont is on track to surpass its current goal of purchasing 20 percent local, sustainable, fair, and humane food. In the 2015-2016 school year, 19 percent of the food purchased by UVM Dining qualified as “real,” according to the Real Food Challenge, indicating that the institution is likely to exceed 20 percent Real Food by 2020, the current target date.

real-food-challenge

The Real Food Challenge is a nonprofit organization that supports a national, student-led movement to shift 20 percent of existing university food budgets (equivalent to approximately $1 billion) from conventional agricultural products to local, ecologically sound, fair and humane products by 2020.

“Growing numbers of students across the country are concerned about how their food is produced — and how it affects farmers, fishers, and workers — and the Real Food Challenge is a response to that concern,” says Anim Steel, executive director of the Real Food Challenge. The motivation for the Real Food Campus Commitment is to empower students to hold their universities accountable for responsible purchasing decisions.

UVM responded to student interest and signed the commitment in 2012, pledging to purchase 20 percent Real Food by 2020. UVM was the fifth institution to do so and 32 campuses have signed since. Student interns work with UVM Dining to audit purchases at dining venues across campus and submit the data to the Real Food Calculator, an online tool that calculates a university’s percentage. Those associated with the effort at UVM expressed excitement that the changes made over the past four years have brought UVM so close to the 20 percent target so quickly.

To qualify as real, products must meet specific criteria in the categories of local, ecologically sound, fair or humane. Local products must be sourced from within 250 miles of campus. Popular local products include apples from Champlain Orchards and maple syrup from UVM’s own Proctor Maple Research Center. The ecologically sound category includes organic products and seafood that is sustainably sourced.  All of the granola, maple syrup, tofu and most fish on campus qualify as ecologically sound. The fair category includes products with certifications indicating that farm workers involved are paid and treated well. Fair Trade coffee and tea are the standard on campus, and UVM is one of few colleges with a Fair Trade banana program. Lastly, there are many qualifying certifications for humane that ensure animals are well treated. Certified Humane (cage-free) eggs make up the highest portion of UVM’s humane category.

UVM Dining serves about 13,000 meals daily and Melissa Zelazny, resident district manager, understands the opportunity each of those meals presents. “We are proud to be creating dining experiences that are better for the planet, healthier for our students and support our local community.” Zelazny is working with others in the UVM food systems community to build a culture that will help students carry these values with them after graduation.

UVM Dining’s demonstrable progress in increasing Real Food purchasing reflects the passion and values at UVM for holistic food systems education and practice. Although the 20 percent goal is within sight, Gina Clithero, student co-chair of the UVM Real Food Working Group (a multi-stakeholder group of students, faculty, administrators and UVM Dining staff), says the work is far from done. “The working group will continue leveraging UVM’s purchasing power to create a sustainable, ethical food system, beyond 20 percent!”

To learn more, visit uvm.edu/realfood.

 -Alison Nihart is assistant to the UVM Food Systems Initiative.

 

Advertisements

(Word)Press Re-Release: UVM Proctor Maple Research Center to Provide Pure Maple Syrup to UVM Dining

It is incredibly rare that we can speak in terms of percentages like “100%”.  Living in Vermont, it is commonplace to feel that the only enduring, consistent term we know is that the weather can change on a dime 100% of the time.
In the vein of local food purchasing, there are only a few products that are well-adapted to this rugged climate, have the infrastructure and resources to support all aspects of production, and are available for a majority of the year.

This news, therefore, is big:
100% of the syrup offered on the UVM campus will now be Vermont Maple Syrup.
The Press Release is (Word)Press Re-Released below.

_______________________________________________________________________________

August 17, 2015    

ContactsPMRC logo
Tom Vogelmann, Dean of UVM College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
tvogelma@uvm.edu, 802-656-0321

uvm dining logo
Melissa Zelazny, Resident District Manager, UVM Dining
mzelazny@uvm.edu, 802-656-4664
UVM Dining will be offering maple syrup from the University of Vermont’s own Proctor Maple Research Center (PMRC), starting this fall. PMRC’s Grade A Dark maple syrup with robust taste will be the standard across the campus’ nine dining locations.

The conversation started with an undergraduate class project in a class called ‘Barriers to Local Food Sourcing’, where UVM Dining was the community partner. Students researched potential maple syrup vendors who could accommodate UVM Dining’s volume and sizing needs.

“When UVM Dining called, I was instantly interested,” said Tom Vogelman, Dean of UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, “Students are an active part of the PMRC, now they’ll get to enjoy the maple syrup that they help make on their pancakes!”

For the past 12 years, PMRC has been selling their maple in bulk, once a year, to Butternut Maple Farms of Morrisville, Vermont. PMRC used to sell to the UVM Bookstore in small amounts, which was too small scale to be efficient. PMRC expects to sell over 1,000 gallons to UVM Dining over the school year.

PMRC is the oldest maple research center in the country and tapped over 3,700 trees during the 2015 season, which yielded nearly 2,000 gallons of locally-PRMC Facility exteriorproduced, certified-organic maple syrup.  As a research entity at The University, PMRC is a non-profit and therefore is seeking to only cover their production and handling costs. This was essential in UVM Dining’s ability to afford the adequately nicknamed ‘liquid gold’.  “We’re thrilled to have students, faculty, and staff enjoy UVM produced maple syrup” says Tim Perkins, Director of PMRC.

“Maple syrup is a quintessential Vermont product. We want to showcase the foods that Vermont is known for in our dining halls,” said Melissa Zelazny, Resident District Manager of UVM Dining.

This partnership supports UVM’s Real Food Commitment goals and Sodexo’s Vermont First pledge.

“I have seen students bring their own maple syrup into the dining halls for their pancakes in the past because that is what they prefer,” said Alyssa Johnson, student chair of UVM’s Real Food Challenge Working Group, “I know students are going to be excited about this!”

PMRC’s first delivery to campus will be August 26th.