Sustainable Food Commitment

The Department of Dining Services at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD Dining Services), is committed to supporting the University’s goal of being a “model of a green university” and its public commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050. With this commitment, UMD Dining Services will collaborate and innovate with campus partners to further campus sustainability goals and programs that:

  • Lead to a healthier community
  • Protect the environment
  • Support sustainable behaviors
  • Promote education about the interrelationship between food, agriculture, the environment, and health
  • Meet our guests’ needs in a cost effective, safe, and responsible manner

Our approach is a comprehensive and ongoing effort with a focus of ensuring that resources used for today’s needs remain available for future generations.

To this end, UMD Dining Services has formed a Sustainable Food Working Group with the endorsement of the University Sustainability Council to advise the department in the development of sustainable goals and strategies. Through an ongoing and collaborative process with the Working Group, UMD Dining Services is committed to promoting sustainable food at the University of Maryland and to meeting the following benchmarks:

  • 1-4% annual increase in sustainable foods purchases (meeting the criteria identified for sustainable food categories including local, fair, humane, and ecologically sound) based on financial feasibility and product availability
  • Annual, incremental increases in sourcing from local growers, with special emphasis on Maryland growers and harvesters
  • Annual, incremental increases in sourcing unprocessed, whole foods
  • 20% sustainable food by 2020

Overall, there are four primary objectives for the sustainable food program at UMD Dining Services:

  • UMD Dining Services mitigates environmental impact by using local and sustainable food sources
  • UMD Dining Services leverages buying power to encourage availability of healthier food choices
  • Changes in healthy food availability and promotion increases UMD community health and wellness
  • UMD Dining Services promotes community engagement and education about sustainable food issues

Food is considered sustainable if it has any of the following attributes: local, fair, ecologically sound, or humane. Local food includes products grown or processed by businesses located and owned within 250 miles from UMD, College Park. The three additional attributes are identified by third party certifications or other specifications approved by the Sustainable Food Working Group.

In order to reach our goals, UMD Dining Services has adopted a Sustainable Food Action Plan which identifies how the department will increase sustainable food availability at UMD College Park. The action plan also addresses educational and promotional opportunities for the Sustainable Food Working Group, tasked with managing and implementing the goals of the Sustainable Food Action Plan.