By protecting and improving our environment, the communities where we do business and the students we serve, UVM Dining makes every day a better day and every tomorrow a better tomorrow.


Local Food

Apple Wood BasketsUVM Dining is a committed partner in the development of a strong Vermont food system. Over the past several years, we have worked hard to increase the number of local vendors who provide food items to the campus, as well as integrate Vermont products into our core menu mix. We use both the Real Food Challenge definition of local (250 road miles) and the VT First definition (VT plus 30 miles), which aligns with our statewide plan, Farm to Plate. UVM Dining has also exercised a long-standing commitment to supporting Vermont companies even if the nature of their product does not allow for it to be sourced locally. For example, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Koffee Cup Bakery. Click here for a full list of our local farmers and producers.

Aside from the constraints of a small state, UVM Dining’s local foods efforts are limited by the fact that Vermont’s primary agricultural output comes during the summer when most of our locations are closed. Without access to large processing and storage infrastructure, the availability of native foods dwindle in the winter and spring months. We are able to purchase and freeze some local produce through Vermont Refrigerated Storage for use later in the year. We have also looked into creative solutions like increasing cold storage on campus by building a root cellar. An undergraduate class even took the first stab at a feasibility study on having a root cellar on campus by Mapping the UVM Food System.

Real Food Challenge

Real Food Challenge Logo The Real Food Challenge is a national student movement that leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system. The national campaign aims to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets from conventional food to real food by 2020. Real food, as defined by the Real Food Challenge, is food which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth by fitting into at least one of the following four categories:

  1. Local and Community-Based: These foods can be traced to small farms or businesses that are locally owned and operated. Sourcing these foods supports the local economy by keeping money in the community and builds community relations. The food travels fewer miles to reach consumers. The food is seasonal, and when it is fresh, it often has a higher nutrient content.
  2. Fair: Individuals involved in food production, distribution, preparation - and other parts of the food system - work in safe and fair conditions; receive a living wage; are ensured the right to organize and the right to a grievance process; and have equal opportunity for employment. Fair food builds community capacity and ensures and promotes socially just practices in the food system.
  3. Ecologically Sound: Farms, businesses, and other operations involved with food production practice environmental stewardship that conserves biodiversity and preserves natural resources, including energy, wildlife, water, air, and soil. Production practices should minimize toxic substances as well as direct and indirect petroleum inputs.
  4. Humane: Animals can express natural behavior in a low-stress environment and are raised with no hormones or unnecessary medication.

In March 2012, UVM became the first school in the east and the fifth school in the nation to sign the Real Food Challenge Campus Commitment, a commitment to serve 20% real food by 2020. UVM Dining works closely with the Real Food Working Group to review our invoices and categorize our food spending using the Real Food Challenge Guidelines. This year, we were able to surpass this commitment, finishing the year with 22% Real Food and recommitting to a new goal of 25% by 2020. With this accomplishment, UVM became the first public land grant institution to accomplish their Real Food Goal. 

Visit UVM’s Real Food Challenge to learn more.

UVM Real Food Challenge Campus Commitment makes the news! 

Vermont First (Making Local Our Priority)

VF logo 2016In 2012, we began working collaboratively with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund on how to strategically grow the local food market share at Vermont institutions.  We had a unique opportunity to work with our partners to develop a best practice model to build on the great work that is happening at UVM and across the State.  In 2014, we launched ‘Vermont First’, our commitment to increase local food sourcing across Vermont campuses and healthcare institutions.

Local Food Distributors

Black River Produce

Black River LogoIn September 2005 Black River Produce, a North Springfield based distributor specializing in Vermont products, was certified as a supplier of produce. Black River Produce connects us with an ever-increasing network of local farms, some less than a mile from campus! 

Intervale_Food_Hub_15Intervale Food Hub

The Interval Food Hub, our newest local distributor, located only 2 miles from campus, is committed to offering the best local food available in Vermont, year-round. Their community of farmers and food makers are at the heart of everything they do and most are certified organic or use other sustainable practices. Because of their close relationships with producers, they are able to provide 100% transparency and traceability so that you can get to know where your food comes from, too. Learn more about their producers.

Vermont Farm to Plate

Farm_to_PlateVermont Farm to Plate the statewide initiative legislatively directed to increase economic development and jobs in Vermont’s farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. A ten year plan to strengthen the working landscape, build the resilience of farms and food enterprises, improve environmental quality, and increase healthy, local food access for all Vermonters is being implemented by over 350 farm and food sector organizations from across the state.

UVM Dining commits to supporting the production and purchase of local food across Vermont in order to accomplish Farm to Plate goals: to increase the amount of Vermont food products consumed by Vermonters, local food production, and the amount of locally produced food available in Vermont institutions. In FY2016, UVM Dining spent $1.63 million on local food.

Vermont Fresh Network

VFN Gold Barn UVM Dining is a proud member of the Vermont Fresh Network (VFN). Members must purchase from at least three VFN member farmers and/or food producers and agree to source from them on a regular basis. We purchase products from about 40 VFN member farms through our local food distributors, Black River Produce and the Intervale Food Hub. Throughout all of the dining halls the VFN logo indicates our membership and dedication to working with Vermont farmers and producers. In addition, we have been a key sponsor and participant in the Vermont Fresh Network Annual Forum. 

UVM Dining is recognized as a Gold Barn Honor from VFN. To qualify as a Gold Barn honoree, we had to achieve impressive localvore standards. Each is required to source ingredients from 15 or more VFN farms. Thirty percent of food purchases must be made from Vermont producers, unless the restaurant spends more than $175,000 on Vermont-grown food annually. Check out our VFN profile.

UVM Agriculture Initatives

Farmer Training Program LogoCatamount Educational Farm-UVM Dining has a partnership with UVM’s Catamount Educational Farm to purchase wholesale produce, grown by the student farmers in the Farmer Training Program, for use in our dining units. Each year, we meet with Catamount Farm staff to develop a crop plan based on our expected needs the following season. Our continued support helps enable the growth of this academic program and strengthens our local food system. Look for the Catamount Farm logo in the dining hall every summer and fall!

Proctor Maple Research Center- In the fall of 2015, UVM Dining began exclusively purchasing maple syrup from UVM's own Proctor Maple Research Center. Chefs order on a weekly basis to ensure that UVM students and staff always have a consistent stock of VT's most famous product.

C.R.E.A.M. Program- Through a partnership with UVM C.R.E.A.M. (a student run dairy herd), Wilcox Dairy, Black River Produce, St. Albans Coop and Agrimark, UVM Dining is excited to start offering a signature ice cream on campus, made by Wilcox Dairy with milk from UVM's own dairy cows!

Cage-Free Eggs

As of July 2014, UVM Dining serves 100% cage-free, Certified Humane shell eggs on-campus! We continue to seek out higher welfare producers for all animal products on campus.

Sustainable Seafood

UVM Dining has committed to serving sustainable seafood. UVM Dining has ben transitioning towards sustainable seafood in collaboration with our distributors for the past few years. We are 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. We have adopted the Real Food Challenge definition of sustainable seafood, which includes seafood that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and listed on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide “Best Choices” list.

Red's Best- Red's Best is one of our primary seafood providers, committed to complete transparency in the seafood supply chain, providing a livable income for fisherpeople and creating markets for abundant, underutilized seafood species. 

Fair Trade Coffee

AsprettoUVM Dining is committed to purchasing 100% Fair Trade Coffee on Campus. Of our coffee roasters featured on campus (Speeder and Earl's, Green Mountain Coffee, Vermont Artisan Coffee Co.), we only purchase their fair-trade product lines.

Additionally, Aspretto, available at Redstone Unlimited and Given Bistro 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.

Fests and Tours

Tour Dinners
Each semester UVM Dining hosts memorable evenings by showcasing cuisine and decorating their locations to depict different North American Regions. One of our most loved tour themes is “Taste of Vermont”, a dinner in the fall dedicated to celebrating Vermont products prepared using traditional Vermont recipes.

UVM Dining hosts week long “fests”, celebrating some of Vermont’s most beloved products by integrating them into menus across campus for the week.

Check out our event calendar to see when the next tour dinner or fest is!
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