University Sustainable Food Goals
In 2016, UVA launched its first Sustainability Plan and outlined both long-term goals and short-term actions through 2020. The Sustainability Plan, developed by the University Committee on Sustainability and facilitated by the Office for Sustainability, is based on ideas and recommendations from over one hundred students, staff, and faculty from across Grounds. The plan lays out a framework by which our educational, operational, and financial resources will be mobilized to achieve significant positive environmental and societal impacts across a broad range of scales from local to global. The framework is organized around three interrelated themes — Engage, Steward, and Discover. Each theme includes a set of specific goals and objectives that will be addressed over the next four years, together with the corresponding approaches and timelines by which these objectives will be achieved. A lead unit or group is identified and will have primary responsibility for addressing each objective in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. The University Committee on Sustainability and Office for Sustainability will be responsible for overseeing implementation of the plan, including tracking metrics and reporting on progress.
The Sustainability Plan’s Stewardship section highlights 5 important goals addressing sustainable food practices at UVA. The 5 goals are identified below:
- Increase the Percentage of Sustainable Food and Beverage Options Available on Grounds
- Reduce Food Waste and Single-Use Food Serving Items Sent to the Landfill by 2030
- Reduce the Energy and Water Impact of Dining Operations
- Increase Awareness of Sustainable Food Systems and Translate Heightened Awareness into Informed Choices
- Collaborate within UVA and the Region to Advance Sustainable Food Systems in the Broader Community
Formation of the STSTF
The Sustainable Food Strategy Task Force (SFSTF) formed as part of the 2016 Sustainability Plan in to implement the goals relating to food. It brought together the three dining entities from UVA Dining (Aramark), the Health System (Morrison's), and Darden Dining to build unity and collaboration within UVA to achieve a food system that supports University sustainability goals and contributes to improved health outcomes for students, faculty, and staff.
This Sustainable Food Action Plan was developed by the SFSTF, facilitated by the Office for Sustainability and comprised of individuals across several disciplines in Dining, Academia, Facilities Management, and Events. This plan outlines five key goals that address sustainable food at UVA including procurement, waste, operations, awareness, and community partnerships.
To better reflect our ongoing work in food systems, the Sustainable Food Strategy Task Force changed its name to the UVA Sustainable Food Collaborative in July 2020. This name change came forward from our merger with the Food Collaborative and to demonstrate that building a just and sustainable food system is not a temporary endeavor which “Task Force” seemed to signify.
The Food Collaborative
The University of Virginia Food Collaborative worked to promote research, teaching, and community engagement around issues of food, agriculture and sustainability. Established in January 2010, the Collaborative included faculty, staff, students, and community members.
The Food Collaborative worked alongside the SFSTF to promote research, teaching, and community engagement. Current faculty and student research focuses on farmers markets, schoolyard gardens, food deserts, local food heritage, and other topics. The Food Collaborative sponsored talks, panels, and film screenings, and provides a focal point for University and community efforts to study and improve regional and local food systems.
In July 2020, the Food Collaborative morphed into the Sustainable Food Collaborative.