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Nearly a Quarter of Food Purchases at UC-Davis Are Sustainable

Number is 29% for the residential dining component and 23% for the entire dining program.

Over the 2013/2014 fiscal year, 23% of all food purchases made by the University of California-Davis Dining Services were locally grown and/or sustainably produced. The school utilizes the criteria listed by the University of California within the Sustainable Practices Policy guidelines to determine percentages of sustainable food purchases made each year.

For the UC-Davis Resident Dining program, 29% of all food purchases were from sustainable sources, including 27% of all meat and seafood. In addition, all eggs were cage-free and humane, half of dairy purchases were local and humane certified and 70% of produce is local from within 250 miles and/or organic certified.

On the retail side, only 11% of all food purchases were from sustainable sources but they included 75% of dairy purchases being local and humane certified and 28% of produce sourced within 250 miles.

“Food purchases that meet these criteria are locally sourced or guaranteed by independent third parties and set standards that are better for the environment, animals and people,” says Ben Thomas, Sustainability Manager for UC Davis Dining Services.

Since implementing a sustainable food program in 2006, UC Davis Dining Services continues to expand sustainable food choices in both resident and retail dining.

UC Davis produces its own commercially viable foods, with the Student Farm and Russell Ranch research farms providing organic produce, tomatoes and wheat flour to Dining Services. These foods are included as ‘Campus Grown’ in the criteria for sustainable food.

Using a calculator developed by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, student interns work each summer to add up food purchases and create an annual report is based on a full fiscal year analysis of all food purchases. It takes a total of 80+ hours of student intern and full time staff support to complete.

“Dining Services is thankful for our suppliers in working with us to provide an accurate and detailed look at our purchases" says Thomas. "We use this data throughout the year to measure our impact and better understand where we can improve.”

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