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

Increase the percentage of sustainable and socially responsible food purchases to 20 percent of total food purchases by 2018. Food purchases must fulfill one or more of the following categories to be considered a sustainable or socially responsible purchase:

  • local and community based,
  • third party certified: fair, ecologically sound, and/or humane

Additionally, we are committed to serving 100% gestation crate-free pork by 2017 and 100% sustainable seafood by 2018.

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 and burgers from Maine Family Farms, VT organic tofu, 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 and tempeh
  • Organic soy milk

Jonathans Organics Full Size

Fair Trade:

All coffee served in residential dining halls is organic and Certified Fair Trade.

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.

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

All of our ground beef on campus and hamburgers 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.

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, redfish, MSC-certified Alaskan pollock, farmed pangasius and Maine lobster (check out Lobster Night in the beginning of the school year!)

Make a Difference Monday:

Every Monday, BU Dining Services promotes sustainable food choices with Make a Difference Monday, 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.