Local, seasonal food, and sustainable seafood are featured on the menus in dining operations across campus. Dining Services works with regional farms to source fresh produce throughout the school year, helping support local growers while reducing transportation costs.
Dining Services also utilizes organic produce, including a 100% organic salad bar at the Belle Air Terrace. Organic produce is grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizer, encouraging farmers to rotate crops and eliminate monoculture farming.
Dining Services played a big role in Villanova becoming a Fair Trade certified campus in the spring of 2013. All dining locations serve or sell at least two Fair Trade items, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar or bananas. Fair Trade certification works to provide fair pricing, wages, and working conditions for crop growers in developing countries. The program also encourages sustainable farming practices through the reduction of deforestation, agrochemicals and GMOs.
Dining Services offers a special Meatless Monday option in every dining hall. By consuming less meat you are not only being healthier, but you are also helping to reduce your carbon footprint. Today, animal husbandry accounts for 18% of the worlds carbon emissions, further contributing to climate change (Reference).
Americans waste 33 million tons of food a year, that’s more than 90 Empire State buildings by weight! (reference A, reference B). In an effort to reduce our waste, we are working with LeanPath to calculate what, how much and where we throw away food scraps. This information will help Dining Services determine areas of improvement.
A dining facility can be a large source of waste for a campus, from kitchen scraps, uneaten food, disposable plates, cups, silverware, and to-go-containers. To help reduce that waste, Villanova Dining Services composts food scraps from their kitchens in Dougherty, Donahue, St. Mary's, and the Law School. Additionally, a pulper is used to eliminate the water weight in compostables resulting in less food volume. This helps to reduce the number of compost pick-ups each week. Our compost is managed by Kitchen Harvest.
Used oil is sent to Oilmatic, a company that purchases used cooking oil to produce biodiesel and paint. None of the oil goes to feeding animals, thus diverting our used cooking oil from the waste stream.
To help reduce water consumption, all dining halls have eliminated trays. The removal of trays has had the added benefit of reducing unwanted food waste. By going trayless, diners are limited in how much food they can carry to their table at one time, so a reduction in food consumption and ultimately waste has been realized. As a result, people pick up less food, and consequentially throw away less food.
For more information on Dining Services sustainability initiatives check out their website.