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Culinary 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.
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 snapshot of some of our local suppliers – our spend with local vendors is in excess of $2 million annually.
This is approximately 18% of our total food spend – Culinary utilizes 70+ vendors for food buying.
*Please note that several of these suppliers are sourced through White Feather Farms, an Ohio distributor who won our fresh meat bid in 2014.
We collaborate with the Office of Sustainability to help educate students regarding food waste and how they can help to further decrease wasted food.
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.
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.
Currently 98% of all baked goods served at Ohio University are baked on campus from scratch
Ohio University is home to the largest in-vessel composting system of any college or university in the nation.
Culinary Services is always looking for new ways to increase our sustainability. We also value student input!
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 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.
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