We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations.
Here are just a few ways we work to make our grounds more environmentally conscious:
- Five of our dining locations are Certified Green Restaurants. The Green Restaurant Association is a third-party reporting tool for transparently assessing the environmental impact of a restaurant.
- All three of our residential dining locations (O'Hill, Fresh Food Co., and Runk) and our retail location The Castle are 3 Star Certified Green Restaurants®. The Fine Arts Café is a 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant®.
- Most recently, Runk Dining Room became a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® by implementing 38 environmental steps across seven categories (Energy, Water, Waste, Disposables, Chemicals, and Food, and Education).
- O'Hill Dining Room has implemented 51 environmental steps, Fresh Food Co. 59 environmental steps, and The Castle 24 environmental steps, and The Fine Arts Café 25 environmental steps to achieve 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® status.
Did you know Dining Services sources food from local farmers, growers and distributors?
Local: UVA Dining considers foods local when it is raised, grown, or produced within a 250-mile radius of UVA with a preference towards foods produced in Virginia. Eating locally supports our local food system and economy, and means greater transparency in our food system. When local items are used in the menu, you are eating fresh, seasonal foods full of flavor.
Partnering with Local Distributors: We partner with several local distributors, such as 4P Foods, Produce Source Partners, and Cavalier Produce to bring locally grown and produced ingredients to our dining locations. These partnerships are celebrated through programming, such as Farm to Fork Dinners and our Sustainable Taste Cart. We also partner with 4P Foods to source items for our Farmers Market in a Bag program. 4P Foods is a local distributor that aggregates produce from over 200 sustainable, small independent farms in the region and makes it available to large institutional buyers such as UVA.
Morven Kitchen Garden: Morven Kitchen Garden achieved GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification in October 2017, allowing student-grown produce to be grown for UVA dining rooms. We sponsor a student intern that works at Morven Kitchen Garden and delivers produce to UVA Dine.
Interactive Local Producer Map: Check out this interactive map to learn about the local vendors and producers that UVA Dine sources food from!
Sustainable Food Collaborative: UVA Dine is a key member of this collaborative that was established in 2016 to implement food related goals outlined in the UVA Sustainability Plan. Find out more about the collaborative here.
Humanely Raised Proteins
We source seafood, including fin-fish, shellfish, and canned tuna from sources, whether fished or farmed, that maintain healthy marine life and ecosystems, and respect seafood workers and communities throughout the supply chain.
We are committed to addressing deforestation risks in our supply chain. We source sustainably produced soy and palm oils and continue to assess and address forest-related risks in beef and paper products.
While we do our best to avoid creating food waste, there are still some instances when Dining Services has excess safe, unserved food available. We partner with Food Assist to donate these leftovers to local food pantries, which helps feed our local community and keeps prepared foods out of landfills.
Low Carbon Menu Options
We serve plant-forward dishes, which are delicious, nutritious, and good for the climate. Since 2015, we have increased the fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on our menus by 19%, while reducing climate-intensive red meat by 12%. Click here to learn more about our menu commitment.
We define plant forward as a style of eating that shifts the focus away from animal products and instead emphasizes vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Each of our dining rooms host Plant Forward pop-ups at least once a week. During these pop-ups, a station that typically serves a meat entree, will instead serve a plant forward entree and we provide educational materials about the benefits of eating plant forward.
Vegan and Vegetarian Options:
We have one station at each dining room dedicated to serving exclusively vegan and vegetarian options during each meal period. At least once a semester, we host a “Veg Out” meal where a dining room features all vegetarian entrees.
The Castle: The Castle is our plant forward café that features fresh paninis, salads, and grain bowls.
UVA’s Blended Burger: In partnership with Seven Hills Food Co., we serve blended burgers (80% Virginia beef, 20% mushrooms) in our residential dining rooms and concessions. These burgers are a healthier option, have a lower environmental footprint, and support Virginia Farms and small businesses.
Recycling and Composting
Dining Services partners with UVA Recycling to recycle and compost waste from all dining locations across campus. Our compost is brought to a local composting facility, Black Bear Compost. We appreciate your efforts to sort your waste by following the waste bin signage. Learn more about composting and recycling around grounds on the Office for Sustainability page.
Recycling 100% of cooking oil. UVA Dining partners with Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions to recycle our used fryer oil into biodiesel!