Earth Week with SPU Dining

May 03, 2019

During Earth Week, we focused each day on one of our sustainability practices. From the Life of a Beet WOHESC presentation to a Puget Sound Farm Tour, we enjoyed sharing our story with the SPU Community to connect them with their food! Read more below. 

Animal Welfare:
On Monday, we highlighted our responsible sourcing initiatives. We started off with a 100% Cage-Free Egg Breakfast to tell our story that ALL of our egg purchases are sourced 100% Cage-Free! We highlighted one of our partners, "Naturally Nested", who not only is a local producer, but also has a focus on taking care of their hens and eggs by not adding any hormones, stimulants, animal fats or by-products, and more!

During lunch, we showcased how Sodexo's animal welfare initiatives extend to SPU Dining and sharing these facts throughout the dining hall.

    •    Sodexo is a part of the Global Coalition of Animal Welfare, the world's first food industry-led initiative aimed at advancing welfare globally. 
    •    The Natural Burger reduces our environmental impact by using a healthier blend of mushroom and beef
    •    Top Company in its sector on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 14th consecutive year in a row 

During dinner, we served a 100% sustainably sourced seafood dishes including:
    •    Baked Tilapia with a Toasted Almond and Bread Crumb crust over sautéed Arugula, fresh Peach Salsa, and Wild Rice Blend
    •   Creamy Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine with Garlic Bread and Tossed Greens 

All of our seafood products are certified sustainable, ensuring a wholesome, traceable and safe supply of seafood. Sodexo has the highest ranking on Greenpeace's sustainable seafood report for the second year in a row among food service organizations. And at SPU, we ensure that our seafood is sustainably sourced by following Sodexo's 5 pillar strategy, and purchase from suppliers that are Best Aquaculture Practices Certified. 

Plant Based Dining:
After achieving an A+ Rating on Peta2's Vegan Report Card, ranked as one of the top 10 most vegan-friendly campuses by the Insider, and presented our plant-based dining initiatives at the Washington and Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference, we were excited to highlight our plant-based dining initiatives. In 2018, we doubled the size of our plant-based dining program in our main dining hall, Gwinn. This has led to us presenting at the Washington and Oregon Higher Education Conference at UW. During the conference, our Executive Chefs Chris and Angy, presented “The Life of a Beet”, a plant-based course that utilizes local beets from root to stem. On Tuesday, April 23rd, we brought the “Life of the Beet” to Gwinn Dining Hall, and students enjoyed the taste of fresh local beets with its beautiful presentation.

Local Purchasing
When we can, we purchase locally. In 2019, we partnered with over 30 farms and businesses in Washington, and we were excited to hold a farmers market in Gwinn. With potatoes available and our partnership with the Puget Sound Food Hub, we were able to highlight some local produce and Bow Hill Blueberries juice and jam. Throughout the day, we highlighted the different farms in the area so our guests can know where their food is from. 

Waste Management
On Thursday, students were able to learn how we reduce, reuse and recycle in SPU. With compostable to go ware, fryer oil recycling, waste management, the Choose to Reuse program, the Food Recovery Network Club, LeanPath Waste Tracking System, and more, we shared with our guests' different ways we manage waste. Throughout the week, a team of Food and Nutrition students conducted a plate waste audit in the dining hall where they weighed the waste of edible food in Gwinn Commons Dining Hall for three dinners.  After conducting the audit, the average amount of food wasted was 4.94 ounces per person! This is the highest amount of food that we have seen wasted in the past 9 years of conducting the study. With this information, the students created banners placed in the dining hall, sharing the results, why its important to reduce your plate waste, and how they can reduce waste in the dining hall. 

Farm Tour: Sauk Farm and Bow Hill Blueberries
On Saturday, our Marketing Coordinator, Jayna, headed out to Skagit Valley to meet the farmer-owners of two local farms from the Puget Sound Food Hub, Sauk Farm and Bow Hill Blueberries.
Sauk Farm is a certified organic family farm near Sauk Mountain and they are known for their apple and grape cider, and dried apples available at the C-Store. Griffin, Operations Manager for the farm, exuded with passion when he gave the tour, and showcased all of their innovative agriculture and sustainability practices to create the best crops while taking care of the environment. Learning about their trials, cover crops to provide nutrient dense soil, fauna to attracting and retain bees, incorporating spraying techniques to decrease the amount of released in the air, barriers to keep out animals while not hurting them, and more, the tour gave a deeper appreciation for our partnership with Sauk Farm. Learn more about their growing practices on their website

Bow Hill Blueberries is a certified organic farm that specializes in heirloom berries. They’re known for their award-winning pickled blueberries and delicious nutrient dense products like their blueberry jam and juice available in the C-Store. Harley, Chief farmer, researcher, and owner, gave a tour of their warehouse and farm. He had a profound insight into the benefits of heirloom blueberries and the necessity for bees. Check their website later this summer to enjoy fresh blueberries when U-Pick is available.

It was a great week to highlight our sustainability initiatives with the SPU Community and support local!