Spring 2020 Sustainable Food Symposium

Spring 2020 Sustainable Food Symposium

The Department of Dining Services works to support student projects each semester ranging from journalism to mechanical engineering, and every discipline in between. At the end of each semester, Dining Services hosts a selection of student projects that focus on sustainability and the food system to highlight during the Sustainable Food Symposium. During the Sustainable Food Symposium, students present their ongoing work from the semester to collaborators, other students, and members of the Dining Services administrative team. The goal is not only to showcase students’ great efforts but also promote active student participation and academic collaboration across campus in pursuit of a more sustainable food system at the University of Maryland.

At the Sustainable Food Symposium on May 8, three student groups shared some of their ongoing work from Spring Semester 2020. Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, the groups presented virtually. Here is a snapshot of this semester’s presentations:

Impact of Changing MRL Standards on the Almond and Soybean Industry – Smith Global Consulting Fellows
The group discussed MRL (maximum residue limit) changes in the EU due to their Farm-to-Fork standards. They also discussed the effects these changes have on the US soybean and almond industries. The team explored how easily these agricultural industries could adapt to regulatory changes and also the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.

UMD Campus Pantry – QUEST Campus Pantry Team Presentation and Poster
The QUEST Team analyzed the Campus Pantry program by exploring Pantry utilization data. First, the team assessed whether the Pantry is serving the high risk groups identified by the Food Access and Student Wellbeing Study. Second, they evaluated key trends in Campus Pantry utilization since it opened in 2014. Using these analyses, the team developed recommendations for the UMD Campus Pantry.

Cool Food Pledge – ENSP Cool Food Capstone Team
The ENSP Capstone team built on the foundation from the Fall 2019 ENSP Capstone Team and continued the work and efforts to implement the recommendations from the Fall. The team conducted work to inform UMD Dining Services planning for achieving the Cool Food Pledge Goal: to slash food related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030. The students designed a survey to learn about student food and dietary choices and other key preferences. Additionally, they analyzed food purchasing data, generated and analyzed food purchasing scenarios, and assessed the total carbon costs of each food purchasing scenario. Lastly, the team put together recommendations for UMD Dining Services and goals for a follow up Capstone team to continue this effort.

Thanks to all the hard work of these and the other students teams that worked and collaborated with UMD Dining Services during the Spring 2020 semester, despite all the changes and disruptions caused by COVID-19. Student projects and involvement are a cornerstone of Dining Services’ work and help to improve our program each year.