Harvard Dining 's Sustainable Food Practices

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When Yale Dining’s first fully sustainable menu rolled out at Berkeley College in 2003, it achieved immediate success. Lines snaked along the corridors and ID cards were traded in a bid to secure a spot at meals. Berkeley College students wore t-shirts warning others to “Stay out of our Dining Hall.” Since then, sustainable dining at Yale has undergone numerous changes. Student dining returned to in-house management under Yale Dining, implementing a university-wide Sustainability Strategic Plan, and diversifying food sources to include sustainable and regional options. While sustainable dining in no longer as novel as it used to be at Yale, it remains central to Yale’s sustainability efforts. Yale Dining is a significant case study on…show more content…
It will compare various food and ingredient sustainability standards to identify areas for development. This analysis holds a broader relevance as it investigates how large organization tasked with navigating the myriad of laws and standards on food production achieve sustainable and cost-effective outcomes in the long run.
Ingredient Identification and Sourcing Yale Dining has to contend with numerous sustainable food standards and labels while sourcing for ingredients. Often, these standards have varying levels of monitoring and actual sustainability impacts, while also posing significant differences in costs. In deciding between one standard and another, Yale Dining has made choices that sacrificed environmental sustainability for financial sustainability. One primary reference is the US National Organic Standards set by the National Food Production Act. Under the Act, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) manages the National Organic Program (NOP) that defines organic standards and processes. For example, if a product contains at least 95% organic ingredients it may be labelled as organic. In addition, organic products are subject to stringent crop production and livestock management standards, such as implementing buffer zones and organic animal feed.
These standards are supposed to lead to greater environmental sustainability and safety, although the impacts have been debated. The plurality of
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