Now more than ever, this generation of students invests in the planet and how they fuel their bodies and brains. Students want to know that the decisions they are making will leave a positive impact on the world around them.
UMD Dining Services hears this concern and has implemented exciting changes to its dining program.
Step 1: We partner with local vendors
This fall, Dining Services partnered with Bay Produce out of Superior, Wisconsin, which allows us to provide a significant amount of locally grown tomatoes in our operations.
Another exciting collaboration was born this winter with Superior Fresh, located in Hixton, Wisconsin to procure salmon for campus, one of their several sustainable options. This local and nutritious salmon has helped us up our carbon-neutral food game. We offer delicious freshly smoked salmon salads (expertly smoked on campus), salmon boards, and even some smoked salmon pâté and canapés.
Step 2: Educate our campus community about the impact of locally-sourced food
Working with local partners has many perks. It builds community and promotes small businesses from our region. For example, Bay Produce is an endeavor of The Challenge Center in Superior, Wisconsin. Their mission is to provide services that support people facing challenges living and working in our community.
Meanwhile, Superior Fresh offers salmon raised in an indoor Aquaculture facility that practices sustainable production methods. Their farm is an ecosystem that works in harmony with nature by recirculating 99.9% of the water with zero runoff, harnessing the sun for the bulk of their growing, and they do it on a fraction of the land using a fraction of the water required to sustain a conventional farm. With these practices, Superior Fresh can grow 30x the amount of food per acre when compared to a traditional farm.
Step 3: Tracking our impact
As Dining Services continues to grow local partnerships the next step will be to track the progress and impact that these decisions have on our community to meet our sustainability goals.
For many years, UMD received a Gold Star rating from The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). This year we switched focus to align our goals with THE Sustainable Development Goals, headed by the United Nations. As a result, UMD Dining Services is focusing on achieving Goal 2: Zero Hunger.
Dining Services strives to purchase local foods to provide more nutritious offerings, give back to the community, and lower our carbon footprint, contributing to UMD’s aspirational goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.