Skip to: Main Content Search Navigation

Our Sustainability Efforts


Sustainability_CallOutCulinary Services, one of the largest self-operated, non-franchised college dining services in the nation, takes food waste and recycling very seriously. Each of our campus venues abides by the standards and initiatives set forth by Ohio University and the Office of Sustainability.
 

Sustainability Awards & Accolades
  • 2016 - United States Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded LEED Silver certification to Ohio University’s Nelson Court renovation project.
  • 2015 - National bronze award winner for Waste Management (NACUFS)
  • 2014 - Departmental Sustainability Award (OHIO Office of Sustainability) ­
     
Local Purchasing

We attempt to purchase local whenever we can – there is no set budget or decision tree for local food sourcing. One of the main considerations is availability. With almost 4 million meals served in Culinary venues each year, product availability is essential in order for Culinary operations to run smoothly. We have large strategic contracts with vendors like Broughton (milk) and White Feather Farms (fresh meat) which allow us to purchase locally-sourced products from vendors who can ensure availability. We also work with local produce vendors (listed above) to purchase items when they are seasonally available. Because of the extremely high volume of product that we purchase and the variability of different food commodity markets, it is a constant challenge to find and secure needed product from local vendors – but our team at the Central Food Facility works very diligently to secure needed product from local suppliers. All food purchased for the University must be traceable back to the farmer, and all producers or handlers of food products must have HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plans in place.

 

Below is a more detailed list of our primary local suppliers – our spend with these vendors is in excess of $2 million annually.  

 

This is approximately 17% of our total food spend – Culinary utilizes 70+ vendors for food buying.

 

Meat/Cheese/Eggs/Milk *

  • Gerber’s Amish Farm  – Kidron, OH (chicken)
  • Ohio Proud Beef – Various suppliers throughout the state of Ohio (beef)
  • Broughton Foods – Marietta, OH  (milk)
  • Walnut Creek Foods – Walnut Creek, OH (cheese & deli meats)
  • Cooper Farms – Van Wert, OH  (turkey)
  • Indiana Packers Corporation – Various suppliers in eastern Indiana (pork)
  • Hemmelgarn & Sons – Coldwater, OH  (eggs)

 

*Please note that several of these suppliers are sourced through White Feather Farms, an Ohio distributor who won our fresh meat bid in 2014.

 

Seasonal Produce

  • Witten Farm Market – Marietta, OH (peaches, corn, melons, etc.)
  • The Hugus Fruit Farm – Rushville, OH (apples)
  • Wards Farm Market – Parkersburg, WV  (pumpkins)
  • Hidden Hills Orchard – Marietta, OH (apples)
  • Cowdery Farms – Long Bottom, OH (peppers)

 

Retail Items

  • Shagbark Seed & Mill – Athens, OH (chips)
  • Frog Ranch Foods – Glouster, OH (pickles & salsa)
  • Vino de Milo – Athens, OH (sauces and dressing)

 

­

Reducing Food Waste

We collaborate with the Office of Sustainability to help educate students regarding food waste and how they can help to further decrease wasted food.­

  • Signs are posted in all Dining Courts/Halls encouraging students to take only what they know they will eat and to not be shy about asking for smaller portions
  • Shively Court and Nelson Court, two of our most recently renovated dining venues, provide numerous self-serve concepts in which customers can choose their own portions. Such ­self-service stations have greatly reduced our amounts of food waste

 

Vendor Relations

Food purchasing is accomplished on several different levels. The Auxiliaries Procurement and Contracts Manager handles all high-level vendor relations, including bidding of large strategic contracts like milk and fresh meat. Whenever possible, bids are written with local sourcing in mind. Most routine daily food buying is handled by our Senior Procurement Specialist. As mentioned above, the team at the Central Food Facility, under the direction of the Associate Director of Culinary Services, works with suppliers on a weekly basis to find and secure product from local producers in the needed quantities. All food purchases must be in compliance with State of Ohio Purchasing rules, which state that the University cannot spend more than $25K with a single vendor in a single year without going out to bid.

 

Contract terms vary, but all of our food contracts have an initial term, and then optional renewals. For example, our milk contract has an initial term of 1 year, but we can choose to renew it up to 5 years. If we do not choose to renew, we rebid the contract.

 

­

Central Production

Almost all food is made and produced at our Central Production Kitchen, Vegetable Preparation, or Bakery at Central Food Facility (CFF). All food is handled safely according to the standards of the Ohio Food Code and all employees are trained in safe food handling. All food waste is tracked by dollar amount. In FY 2015 the total cost of food purchased for use in the dining halls was $5,182,099. The dollar value of food we had to waste because it was no longer safe to serve was $36,356.12. In percentage terms that is a waste factor of 0.7%. The average food operation wastes 2% of its food purchases. Our waste is 65% (1.3% divided by 2% = 65%) lower than a typical food operation.

  • The cook/chill system and central production kitchen at our Central Food Facility has helped us to further reduce waste by centralizing production.
  • Soups, sauces, pastas, rice and other food items are now made in a central location, ensuring product quality and consistency
  • Eliminates redundant machinery within each of our Dining Courts/Halls and affords us with a smaller, more energy efficient production footprint that focuses on the customer experience
  • Bakery renovations have allowed us to not only increase our production of from-scratch items, but to decrease carbon emissions from transportation and provide a higher quality product without the use of preservatives
    • Currently 98% of all baked goods served at Ohio University are baked on campus from scratch

      ­

­

­Composting Support

Ohio University is home to the largest in-vessel composting system of any college or university in the nation.

  • All of our campus dining locations utilize compostable napkins, take-out containers and more to help maximize the use of the campus composting vessels and to further ongoing campus sustainability efforts
  • Visit the Office of Sustainability's composting page for additional information regarding OHIO's commitment to a greener tomorrow
    ­

Ongoing Efforts

Culinary Services is always looking for new ways to increase our sustainability. We also value student input!

  • The Culinary Services Development Committee (CSDC) is a student-led group that helps us to evaluate sustainability-related ideas and initiatives.
    • Our recent reusable bags initiative, in which all 2013-2014 residential students on a meal plan were provided with a reusable bag free of charge, was borne out of CSDC

  • We continually develop new partnerships to offer organically grown and Fair Trade coffee in select dining venues and cafés
  • All Culinary Services venues are now utilizing soaps and detergents that are biodegradable and safe for the environment
  • We are incorporating sustainable design elements, renewable materials, new infrastructure, and equipment efficiencies within both existing and future venue renovations

­­­­­­­­­­­

CONNECT


SIDE NOTES


We are always looking for energetic students who are interested in discussing/furthering our on-campus sustainability efforts!

The Culinary Services Development Committee (CSDC) is a student-led organization dedicated to discussing a wide range of culinary-related topics. Meetings are monthly during the school year.

Let your voice be heard! Email dining@ohio.edu for additional information.