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University Housing & Dining Services is part of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, a working group of experts launched by the Culinary Institute of America, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Stanford University. The vision of Menus of Change is to collaborate on research, create evidence-based food systems, and work toward healthier, more sustainable, plant-forward diets.
Read their Menu Principles here!
University Housing and Dining Services (UHDS) is committed to environmental practices that protect and preserve our communities resources. Approximately 10-20% of the food and beverage budget is spent on locally-sourced products. Serving over 2 million meals each year, Dining Services' impacts on the environment are significant. As a result, UHDS has implemented more sustainable practices throughout their department. Here are some highlights:
To see more of what UHDS is doing, see their sustainability website.
As a division of UHDS, OSU catering also attempts to source its ingredients from local and organic distributors. Catering menus can be customized to include local and organic selections.
Organic Growers Club is an all-volunteer, student-run organic farm uses ~2 acres to provide educational and social opportunities for anyone wanting to learn about agriculture. The group sells fresh produce to support summer interns, education, farm maintenance, and help philanthropic organizations around town.
Since 2018, UHDS has utilized a system called LeanPath to measure, analyze, and reduce pre-consumer food waste in dining halls. This has helped UHDS use its resources more efficiently and reduce their environmental impact. Some food waste is unavoidable, including some kitchen scraps and leftovers from the dining centers, all of which is composted. Composting at OSU diverts tons of waste from the landfill and provides a feedstock for the Pacific Region Compost facility, run by Republic Services. Additionally, the OSU Organic Growers Club makes and uses compost at their farm on Highway 34.
The Human Services Resource Center (HSRC) provides basic needs to students marginalized by inequity, poverty, and oppression, including grocery support, SNAP assistance, textbook and laptop lending, and other services to students in need. Low-income students can get access to fresh produce and other good foods at the HSRC food pantry.
Developed by the OSU Sustainable Food Working Group, the OSU Food Map (embedded below) is a resource for students and the campus community that clearly shows what types of food options are available where in our community. The map is constantly evolving with the food options on campus. If there is anything you would like to share your suggestions feel free to email us!
Click the flyout menu button in the top left corner to see the options!
Eco2Go is a University Housing & Dining Services program that provides customers with reusable take-out containers. The goal is to prevent plastic and other types of food container waste from reaching the landfill. We estimate that Eco2Go kept 400,000 disposable containers from the landfill in the first year alone, and to-date has saved more than a million containers.
Open for business every Saturday at the Riverfront and Wednesdays at the Benton County Fair grounds, the Corvallis Farmer's Market provides local produce, eggs, meat, baked good, crafts and more from mid-April till mid-November. Buying directly from farmers supports local jobs and our local economy and reduces the resources used for transport and packaging.
Four Corvallis restaurants have undertaken the Oregon Natural Step process to become more sustainable. They are: Bomb's Away Café, Nearly Normal's Gonzo Cuisine, Fireworks (formally Intaba's Kitchen) and Sunnyside Up. Numerous other restaurants use locally-sourced and organic ingredients.
Corvallis has a variety of community gardens and non-profit organic gardens, including the Starker Arts Garden for Education (SAGE) run by the Corvallis Environmental Center. The food grown at SAGE is donated to local food banks and soup kitchens–providing fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to families in our community who cannot afford them. In the past two years, they have donated over 10 tons of fresh produce.
The recources that go into producing, transporting and disposing of food are staggering. For example, many fruits and vegetables travel thousands of miles to reach our plate, using significant resources along the way. OSU strives to reduce the impacts of our food system, while still providing wholesome and quality food at a reasonable price.