For Your Planet

As a guest, it is easy to make smart environmental choices when you dine at a Sodexo café. We know today's college students want to do the right thing for the planet and we also understand you lead busy lives, so your Sodexo chefs and managers do a lot of the work for you behind the scenes!

14 Commitments

From purchasing local seasonal produce whenever possible to reducing inorganic and organic waste, your campus team is dedicated to providing you with an exceptional dining experience that is good for you and good for the planet.

This commitment was formalized with Sodexo's Better Tomorrow Plan. The Better Tomorrow Plan includes 14 commitments for a brighter future by focusing on three key priorities: health, community and planet. Learn more about UVM's Better Tomorrow Plan.

While your Sodexo team works hard behind the scenes, they also count on student engagement and enthusiasm to spread the word about what you're doing together on your campus. We encourage you to work with your local Sodexo management team to continue to innovate and improve sustainability efforts in your community.

Additional News Links


Keep Local Farms™

Keep Local Farms (KLF) is part of a broad effort to stabilize and enhance milk prices paid to dairy farmers in the Northeast -while also helping to secure the farms of today for future generations. KLF has identified The University of Vermont and Sodexo as key partners in this effort due to their commitment to environmental stewardship and their recognition as leaders in sustainability and social responsibility.

Since Monday, November 16th, 2009, 10˘ from the sale of all single serve Hood milk has been collected and transferred to the Keep Local Farms program in support of New England dairy farmers. Since the launch of this initiative to December 2013, $28,560 has been raised. The Vermont Community Foundation provides guidance and management for all funding received by the Keep Local Farms program, and funds organizations advancing dairy farm sustainability across New England and New York. Thank you for your on-going support, stay tuned for more updates.

Additional News Links


Local and "Real" Food Development

University Dining Services (UDS) is a committed partner in the development of a local and "Real" food presence on the University of Vermont Campus as an integral part of our dining services programs. Over the past several years, UDS has worked hard to increase the number of local vendors who provide food items to the campus, as well as integrate core Vermont products into our menu mix. Local food is defined as food grown or produced within 150 miles or within the State of Vermont. Processed food is considered local if over 50% of the ingredients fit the above local food criteria. "Real" food is defined as food that is local, organic, Fair Trade or humane.

In the past, UVM students have enjoyed a productive relationship with the UVM Dairy, Horticultural farms and many native farmers who supplied local products to campus dining halls. Unfortunately, across the country these connections have been disappearing as industrial agriculture grows and dislocates farmers from consumers. UDS has recently commenced working to rebuild and expand upon these relationships and offer as much local fare whenever possible. UDS established a sustainability internship to assist in the transition to a more sustainable food purchasing model. The sustainability intern uses the Real Food Calculator to determine the percentage of local and "Real" food purchased at each dining location.

University Dining Services has also exercised a long-standing commitment to supporting Vermont companies. Though many of these companies use locally sourced ingredients, we do not include them in our native foods totals because they do not meet the stringent labeling standards mandated by the Vermont Department of Agriculture. For this reason, the local foods benchmark is merely one tool by which we can gauge the success of our programs.

Aside from the constraints of a small state, UDS’s local foods efforts are limited by the fact that Vermont’s primary agricultural output comes during the summer when classes are not in session. Without access to large processing and storage infrastructure, the availability of native foods dwindle in the winter and spring months. For more information on our local works, please contact us.

Additional Local Information


Real Food Challenge

On March 22nd, 2012 UVM became the 1st school east of the Mississippi and just the 5th school in the nation to sign the Real Food Challenge, a commitment to serve 20% “Real” food by 2020. What is “Real” food you may ask? Real food, according to the Real Food Challenge, is food which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth.” For the purposes of categorization, if it is Local (within 150 miles or within the state of VT), Humane (free-range, cage-free), Ecologically Sound (Organic, Sustainably Harvested) or Fair (Fair Trade) we consider it "Real;" even better if it hits two categories.

So where are we today at UVM? As a campus we are at about 12% with about 8% being Local. At Brennan’s, our dining location that focuses on Local and Organic foods, we fluctuate around 50% Real with about 47% being Local. One important note is that not all of our local purchases are considered Local foods based on the Real Food Calculator, so our support of local businesses is underrepresented by the Local component of our Real Food numbers. For this reason we have decided to track local business purchases separately so that it includes items like bread from Koffee Kup Bakery, which supports the local economy but since the ingredients are not local, it is not considered "Real." We rely on our Student Sustainability Interns to review our purchasing invoices and categorize our food spending using the criteria established for the Real Food Calculator.

Additional Resources


Vermont Fresh Network

University Dining Services (UDS) is a proud member of the Vermont Fresh Network. To be a member of the Vermont Fresh Network an organization must purchase from at least three Vermont Fresh Network member farmers and/or food producers and agree to source from them on a regular basis. UDS purchases products from about 40 farms through our local food distributor, Black River Produce. In addition, Sodexo has been a key sponsor and participant in the Vermont Fresh Network forum held in August each year.

Throughout all of the dining halls the Vermont Fresh Network logo indicates our membership and dedication to working with Vermont farmers. Looking for local off-campus dining options? The Vermont Fresh Network offers a complete membership listing of participating restaurants.

Link: Black River ProduceBlack River Produce
In September 2005 Black River Produce (BRP), a North Springfield based distributor specializing in Vermont products, was a certified by Sodexo as a supplier of produce. BRP puts Sodexo in contact with an ever-increasing network of local farms (currently around 40) some less than a mile from campus!


Farmer Training Program

Link: Farmer Training Program

As part of The Better Tomorrow Plan and The Real Food Challenge, Sodexo is committed to increasing and promoting local, sustainable and Fair Trade products. To that end, University Dining Services (UDS) has committed to a partnership with the Farmer Training Program, UVM Continuing Education. UDS supports this program through purchase of produce grown by the student farmers for use in our dining units. Our continued support helps enable the growth of this fledgling program built on a sustainable agriculture model at UVM’s Horticultural Farm.


Sustainable Seafood

Sodexo’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative is part of our organization’s Better Tomorrow Plan, our global roadmap for sustainability. The initiative is unparalleled, incorporating industry leading best practices that provide our customers with comprehensive, high quality, sustainable fresh and frozen seafood offerings.

Sodexo is committed to offering this better choice by utilizing a flexible full line of products, purchased at fair market value and sourced from providers that ensure the highest level of quality assurance and food safety along with adherence to global standards of excellence for environmental responsibility and accountability in seafood. Our commitment is to have 100% of our contracted seafood certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Best Aquatic Practice) (BAP), by 2015.

Sustainable Seafood choices are currently being featured at Cook Commons, Harris/Millis, The University Marché, The Marketplace at the Davis Center and The Waterman Manor. Look for signage highlighting our sustainable seafood offering at your favorite dining location.


Fest and Tours

Each semester University Dining Services (UDS) chefs and creative resident dining hall staff host memorable evenings by showcasing cuisine and decorating their units to depict different North American Regions. One evening in autumn is always dedicated to celebrating local Vermont products prepared with Vermont recipes; with the Taste of Vermont Dinner.

In addition to the Taste of Vermont Dinner, UDS hosts week long, and campus-wide Fests, celebrating some of Vermont’s most beloved products. In October we celebrate Applefest. The apples used during the Applefest and throughout the year come from Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, Vermont. Bill Suhr, owner of Champlain Orchards is a graduate of the University of Vermont.

Farmfest, is celebrated in September. The Fest includes recipes with Vermont produce and pays tribute to the farmers who grow it. Farmfest events have included guest appearances from farmers/producers such as: Arethusa Farm, Misty Knoll Farms, Sam Mazza's, Diamond Hill Vegetable Growers, Lewis Creek Farms, Champlain Orchards, Vermont Soy, Norris Farms, UVM's Common Ground Farm and Black River Produce.

In April we host Cheesefest; a week long, campus-wide event showcasing Vermont produced cheese. The Fest features cheese-based recipes in all our campus dining locations and guest appearances from several Vermont cheese producers such as: Grafton Village Cheese, Vermont Butter & Cheese, Cabot Creamery, and Shelburne Farms; even a member of the Vermont Cheese Council, Chef Jeff Egan.

Springtime in Vermont means maple syrup, a time honor tradition. In April enjoy recipes made with the sweet taste of Vermont maple syrup during our Maplefest celebration held at all the campus dining locations.


Sodexo Sustainability Gallery

In celebration of our 50 year partnership, Sodexo donated funds to support the development of the Sustainability Gallery, located at the first floor tunnel entrance of the Davis Center. The Gallery hosts a real time display and interactive dashboard that provides water, electricity, and heating and cooling consumption statistics of the building. This web-based technology provides an ongoing educational arena for students and visitors interested in the environmental impact of the building's efficiencies. Additional materials displayed in the gallery also market the resources at Sodexo within dining services at UVM as well as nationally.


Aspretto Coffee

Aspretto, available at Redstone Unlimited is a sustainable coffee and tea line that sources from local markets accredited by the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade Foundation or the Soil Association and internationally-recognized fair trade certification organizations. Aspretto uses recyclable and bio-degradable materials in packaging and utensils. Equipment wraps are made from 100% post-consumer recycled resin and all printed materials are created with vegetable inks.


Common Ground Farm

Since spring 2008 University Dining Services has partnered with UVM's Common Ground Student Run Farm by purchasing five Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. The shares provided produce used during the seven orientation sessions in June and at the Waterman Manor for the duration of the growing season. In addition Common Ground Farm highlighted their produce at an evening meal at Harris/Mill Dining Hall during Farmfest week, fall 2008. It was the first time their produce was showcased in a resident dining facility. This collaboration is an important step in creating a sustainable food system as it works with future farmers and gives students hands-on learning experience in production, marketing and distribution of produce while fostering sustainable land practices.

Common Ground Farm operates as a Student Government Association (SGA) club throughout the academic year and is managed by four students throughout the summer. The farm, located only a few miles from campus, grows three acres of organic produce and has almost forty CSA shareholders.

Interested in learning more? Feel free to contact Common Ground Farm.


Sustainability Internship

University Dining Services (UDS) established an internship position for a University of Vermont (UVM) student to assist in the transition to a more sustainable food purchasing model. In spring of 2006, the first local food assessment was made. Currently, the sustainability intern uses the Real Food Calculator to determine the percentage of local, fair, ecologically sound and humane food (Real Food) purchased at each dining location. Percentages are calculated from data collected from one week of food purchases each month during the academic year. The results include Real Food percentages for each dining location and Real Food percentages for each of the following categories: baked goods, meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, seafood, coffee, beverages, produce, and staples.

This information provides Dining Services a comprehensive view of where Real Food is being purchased, helps managers/chefs identify where increases can be made, assists in finding new local opportunities, offers a comparison to similar institutions, and provides recommendations for future actions. UDS shares this information with UVM and the UVM Office of Sustainability. The information is also made available to students interested in incorporating the information into various class projects. During the 2010/2011 academic year the information will be presented to the UVM Environmental Forum by third year Environmental Science student, Alison Nord, Sustainability Intern.

For more information on UDS’s local works please contact us.


Campus Kitchens Project

Link: Campus Kitchens Project

The Campus Kitchens Project is a community service and anti-hunger program that takes unused food in the campus dining halls and turns that food into nourishing meals for people in need. As of 2011, 27 Campus Kitchens' have been established at universities across the country. In January 2009 University of Vermont (UVM) was added to that list. The mission of the Campus Kitchens Project is to:

  • Strengthen Bodies by using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in our community;
  • Empower Minds by providing leadership and service learning opportunities to students, and educational benefits to adults, seniors, children, and families in need; and
  • Build Communities by fostering a new generation of community-minded adults through resourceful and mutually beneficial partnerships among students, social service agencies, businesses and schools.

The Campus Kitchens Project at UVM provides a service learning opportunities for students and nourishing meals for people within the Burlington community. Students plan menus, get the food, cook, and delivery the meals. In addition students teach nutrition classes at local nonprofit organizations and collect locally grown produce from gleaning programs. On top of all that, students learn how to operate a nonprofit organization, keep track of paperwork, fundraise, develop service learning curriculums, and partner with other nonprofits in the local community.

Interested in being a part of this service learning organization? E-mail or visit UVM's Campus Kitchens Project or the National Campus Kitchens Project.