Sustainability: being responsible users of our resources so that others in the future can enjoy the same quality of life we do. Ithaca College Dining Services, in partnership with Sodexo, is engaging in a deep and unwavering commitment to sustainability and the environment, and to vitality of the community we serve. It is a business and moral imperative, central to our values, and reflected in the services we provide everyday.
“Plant-forward” is a style of cooking and eating that emphasizes and celebrates, but is not limited to, plant based foods—including fruits and vegetables; whole grains; beans, other legumes, and soy foods; nuts and seeds; plant oils; and herbs and spices—and that reflects evidence-based principles of health and sustainability. We are committed to offering food that looks and tastes great and succeeds in realizing a long-term, practical vision integrating optimal nutrition and public health, environmental stewardship and restoration, and social responsibility. Putting plant proteins at the center of the plate and moving animal-based foods to a supporting role results in a healthier you and a heathier planet.
Our Local Food Policy is a first step in creating a healthy, fair and ecologically sound food system. We are committed to mindfully choosing healthy ingredients of high quality and whenever possible from our local farms, dairies and processors. Our goal is to increase the amount of our food procured locally, within 250 miles, from the current 19% of total purchases to 25% by 2020. This policy will guide our chefs in choosing fresh, local ingredients as they create the menus for the 10,000 meals we serve on campus each day. Sourcing local products supports the local economy and people, and combined with plant-forward choices reduces the carbon footprint of these products by minimizing the distance they are transported.
We are still committed to reducing organic and inorganic waste through, reuse, recycling, and composting. What seemed like risky, cutting-edge innovations decades ago are now part of our daily routine that have significant positive impacts for the environment. Each year, the diversion of roughly 235 tons of food-scrap from landfill to composting results in 537 tons of CO2 NOT being released into the atmosphere. Other efforts include, tray less dining, reusable cup discount program, energy saving equipment and procedures, water conservation and sustainable materials management.
We are a Food Recovery Verified (RFV) business with the Food Recovery Network (FRN), the largest student movement against food waste and hunger in America. Each week SWIFT (Stop Wasting Ithaca’s Food Today) gather to package 30 to 50 meals for people served by the Ithaca Rescue Mission, a local organization who has been assisting people in need since 2013. SWIFT has helped Dining Service’s staff to be better stewards of our food resources through menu planning and making sure that food we make is eaten, not thrown away. We also support the Food Bank of the Southern Tier by providing funding and support for the Back Pack Program. In partnership with the College, we support the Mobile Food Bank and co-host the Taste of the Nation event.