We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations. Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious:

Sustainability Monthly Newsletter

Pilot: Catering Materials Transition Announcement

Local Purchasing

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Did you know Dining Services sources food from within 250 miles of campus, from many local farmer, growers, and distributors? The list changes throughout the year depending on seasonality and availability. Our most utilized local vendors and closest partnerships are listed below.  For more information about our local vendors click here.

Our Partners include:  

  • Adelante Mujeres, Forest Grove, OR
  • To the Roots Coffee Brewers, Forest Grove, OR
  • B Street Farm, Forest Grove, OR
  • Amstad Produce, Sherwood, OR
  • Carlton Farms, Carlton, OR
  • Trapold Farms, Portland, OR
  • Pacific Foods of Oregon, Tualatin, OR
  • Franz Bakery, Portland, OR
  • Mustard Seed Farms, St, Paul, OR
  • Umpqua Dairy, Roseburg, OR
  • Montecucco Farms, Canby, OR
  • Bob's Red Mill, Milwaukie, OR
  • Howard Calcgano Farms, Aurora, OR
  • Cal Farms, Oregon City, OR
  • Tillamook Co Creamery, Tillamook, OR
  • Hilltop produce, Troutdale, OR
  • Don Poncho, Salem, OR
  • Truitt Family Foods, Salem, OR
  • A & J Orchards, Hood River, OR
  • Stiebrs Farms, Yelm, WA
  • Curry & Co., Brooks, OR
  • Yamhill County Mushroom, Yamhill, OR
  • Pacific Coast Fruit Co., Portland, OR

Responsible Sourcing

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  • Humanely-Raised - We purchase humanely raised animal proteins. This includes all cage-free eggs, shelled and liquid, and group housed pork as detailed in Aramark's Animal Welfare Principles and Policy.
  • Sustainable Seafood - We purchase 100% sustainable seafood according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. We strive to purchase "Best Choice" seafood, but if not, we purchase "Good Alternative" seafood products.

Food Waste Reduction

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 The EPA uses a Food Recovery Hierarchy to prioritize actions that can be taken to prevent and divert wasted food.  Each tier of the Food Recovery Hierarchy focuses on different management strategies for wasted food. At our organization we use this hierarchy to guide our own food waste reduction initiatives. The actions we are taking as an organization are listed below. For more details about the Food Recovery Hierarchy click here.

  • Source Reduction - We use Lean Path systems to measure and track food waste coming out of our kitchen and dining hall.  We notice patterns together and take steps to reduce the volume of surplus food.  Did you know that the over-production of food waste is a leading contributor to climate change?  Our goal is to minimize waste through accurate purchasing and production.  We've had less food waste, as well as conserved energy and water, since we started serving smaller portions and transitioned to tray-less dining. By having tray-less dining and smaller portions, we encourage students to only take what they need in order to waste less food. We use Leanpath, production numbers, and meals purchased for every meal to prepare an accurate amount of food.
  • Food Donation - We donate approximately 50 pounds of our unserved food per week.  This donation goes to Sonrise Church in Forest Grove.  Sonrise uses the food to support a temporary emergency winter shelter that provides food and services to 40+ community members four nights a week.  To see how much food we've donated this year click here. When the Temporary Emergency Shelter is not open, we donate our leftover food to Open Door in Hillsboro, OR.
  • Composting - Our food waste goes to JC Biomethane, an anaerobic digestion facility in Junction City, OR.  JC Biomethane captures the methane gasses that come off the rotting food and converts it into electricity.  Composting not only captures greenhouse gas emissions, it reduces our contribution to landfills!  For more information about the composting process click here.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Washable Service Ware - Each student that uses The Grove Dining Hall can purchase a reusable to-go container for $5, which we will wash and replace upon return each use. In The Grove Dining Hall we use bamboo dishware. Bamboo is a fast-growing renewable resource that has the potential to last longer than ceramic because it is more durable, in addition to being less harmful in the way that it is produced--with minimal environmental impact. The same bamboo dishware is replacing our paper goods used for Grove Catering events, while disposable products are only used for events where attendance exceeds our bamboo dishware supply. We currently partner with the Center for a Sustainable Society to support a mug library, which is a station of reusable alternatives to single-use coffee cups. We hope with our increase in convenient reusable options, we are helping to encourage sustainable behaviors on campus. We hope to increase our reusable options with Aramark's commitment to reduce single-use plastics.

  • Recycled Content - Our napkins, paper plates, utensils, and copy and printing paper are all made with 100% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Fryer Oil recycling - One hundred percent of dining services used fryer oil is recycled.
  • Campus Recycling - Dining Services partners with the campus to recycle glass, cardboard, and other mixed recycling, according to Washington County guidelines, from all dining locations across campus. We are committed to minimizing our environmental footprint. Look for signs in our locations for information on where to put your recyclables. We are also currently working with more of our distributors to increase the quantity of reusable transport material for our products.

For more on our commitment, see here.