Where Our Food Comes From

Our Mission

Boston University Dining Services aspires to improve the health of all members of the Boston University community and have a positive impact on our environment, by increasing access to fresh, healthy and wholesome foods and beverages offered in University facilities. We promote agricultural practices that are ecologically sound, socially responsible and economically viable with our purchasing strategies. We also strive to inform the University community of such practices through education and marketing.

Our Goals

In 2014, we committed to purchase 20% of our food from sustainable sources. We are proud to announce that we met that goal three years ahead of schedule! Over the past year, 23% of our food and beverage purchases met AASHE STARS* sustainable food criteria. That means it’s either:

  • local and community-based or
  • third-party certified: fair, ecologically sound and/or humane
  • 100% gestation crate-free pork by 2017
  • 100% sustainable seafood by 2018

BU Dining Service’s has committed to a new local and sustainable purchasing goal of 25% by 2020.

2016-2017 Program Additions:

  • Maine Family Farms, Gestation-Free, Animal Welfare Approved, Pork Loin
  • Abbotsford Farms, USDA Certified Organic, Cage-Free, Liquid Eggs
  • Murray’s, Certified Humane, Cage-Free, Turkey Breast

Current Strategies

  • Maintaining transparency and providing an ongoing dialogue and compliance reporting with the University community and encouraging participation in the development of sustainable and affordable food policies.
  • Sourcing food locally as practical, from within a 250-mile radius, by partnering with local farms, producers and distributors that are capable of consistently meeting our volume, quality and service standards.
  • Cooking and baking from scratch in University facilities as much as possible, recognizing the value of a freshly made quality product, made with hand-picked ingredients.
  • Sourcing and purchasing foods that are grown without the use of potentially harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Sourcing and purchasing foods that are Certified Fair Trade.
  • Evaluate our progress by participating in the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS 2.0) established through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).


BU Dining Services buys locally to support New England agriculture, the local economy, and to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. We purchase locally-grown and locally-processed food including dairy, fruits and vegetables, Certified Humane chicken, grass-fed ground beef, hot dogs and burgers from Maine Family Farms, VT organic tofu, Maine-grown organic oats, and sustainable local seafood.

Sustainability Map2

Great Brook Profile Full Size


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We support organic agriculture by purchasing organic food whenever economically feasible.  Some of our staples include:

  • Organic bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts from Jonathon’s Sprouts in East Freetown, MA
  • Organic and Fair Trade coffee from Seattle’s Best
  • Organic yogurt from Stonyfield Farms in Londonderry, NH
  • Organic honey
  • Organic kidney, garbanzo and black beans
  • Organic tofu made from VT soybeans from Vermont Soy and organic tempeh
  • Organic soy milk
  • Organic oats grown in Maine from Grandy Oats

Jonathans Organics Full Size

Fair Trade:

All coffee served in residential dining halls is organic and Certified Fair Trade.  In season, all of our tomatoes come from the Immokalee region of Florida, and are fair trade certified by the Fair Food Program.

Cage-Free and Humane:

We support the humane treatment of animals and as such, have converted all of our eggs on campus to cage-free (with the exception of EggBeaters and egg patties at Breadwinners, both of which are not available with cage-free eggs). All of our eggs are Certified Humane. This Fall, liquid eggs will transition from cage-free, certified humane to USDA Certified Organic, cage free liquid eggs.

All of our whole chickens and chicken thighs are Certified Humane and come from Murray’s in NY state.

All of our ground beef on campus, hamburgers and hot dogs served in residential dining halls are grass-fed, Animal Welfare Approved and come from Maine Family Farms.

By 2017, all pork served at Boston University will be gestation crate-free. Look for Maine Family Farms gestation free pork loin this semester!

Sustainable Seafood:

Dining services has made a commitment to choosing sustainable seafood.  We use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and the Marine Stewardship Council as guides. Our priority is to serve local, sustainable seafood, caught in the Atlantic waters, off the coast of the New England We have partnered with Red’s Best to procure from and support small, day boat fisherman.  Some of our local, sustainable seafood offerings include farmed mussels and clams, Atlantic pollock, Gulf of Maine Acadian Redfish, MSC-certified Alaskan pollock, and Maine lobster (check out Lobster Night in the beginning of the school year!)













Wholesome Roots:

Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday BU Dining Services promotes sustainable food choices with Wholesome Roots -where good food grows- a day reserved for local, organic and sustainable foods with a lower carbon footprint.  All residential dining halls participate by serving a special menu that boasts more plant-based dishes, sustainable seafood, local fruits and vegetables, and organic foods.  We favor poultry and sustainable seafood over beef and pork. Plant-based diets are the most sustainable diets and as such, we increase our vegetarian options on these days, to promote a stronger plant-based diet.

We’ve partnered with BU Student Government to change the schedule of Wholesome Roots. You can find it:

Mondays- Fresh Food Company at Marciano Commons

Tuesdays- Fresh Food Company at Warren Towers

Wednesdays- Fresh Food Company at West Campus