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BU Increases Its Target for Sustainable Food Sources

Food that’s better for you and for the planet


When you beat your own expectations, what do you do?

You aim higher. BU’s Dining Services has upped its goal for procuring food from sustainable food sources and is now aiming to get 25 percent of its food from such sources by 2020.

The goal had been 20 percent by 2018, but BU hit that mark last year—three years early. The new goal was announced in the Dining Services annual sustainability report, which enumerates the ways the University enhanced its food sustainability in 2015.

The report says that in the last year, 23 percent, to be exact, of BU’s food came from sustainable sources, defined as locally or regionally produced (within a 250-mile radius) or else certified by a third party as meeting ecological, animal-humane, or fair-trade standards. The University uses criteria established by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

“Our sustainability program is very mature,” says David Frank, Dining Services director of sustainability. “We are always adjusting menus, changing products, and analyzing trends.”

By next year, Dining Services aims to replace all pork from conventionally raised pigs with humane and crate-free animals raised in Maine, the report says. The following year, it plans on purchasing all seafood from sustainable sources. It is “transitioning to all USDA, organic, cage-free liquid eggs” and turkey breast from cage-free local birds, Frank says.

“We have the greenest food court in the nation,” according to the international nonprofit Green Restaurant Association, he adds.

As outlined in the report, the purchasing practices that helped BU hit the 23 percent mark last year can be measured by the ton:

  • 21 tons of beef—all the ground beef, hamburgers, and all-beef hot dogs served—came from a Maine family farm that raises grass-fed cows;
  • 49 tons of turkey (almost all turkey used on campus) came from farms certified by the American Humane Association;
  • 22 tons of chicken—all the whole chickens and chicken thighs used—came from humane-certified farms in New York and Pennsylvania;
  • 19 tons of skipjack and albacore tuna used on campus were raised sustainably;
  • 9 tons of tofu were from Massachusetts and Vermont organic farms; and
  • 7 tons of oats were from an organic farm in Maine.

“We are progressively and aggressively challenging the norm and driving local purchasing at BU,” Frank says.

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

2 Comments on BU Increases Its Target for Sustainable Food Sources

  • Stephanie H. on 10.14.2016 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for making this a priority!

  • Lisa Tornatore on 10.14.2016 at 11:35 am

    We are so proud to be working with BU Dining Services on moving the University forward in its commitment to sustainability. Congrats to BU on meeting this important goal ahead of schedule and for continuing to push the envelope!

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