Buying local supports local families and builds communities. University of Minnesota Dining Services recognizes there are varying definitions of local food and currently recognizes food as local that is produced, packaged and distributed from within a 250 mile radius from campus. Below are some of our local partners:
Cornercopia Student Organic Farm
University of Minnesota Dining Services has a growing relationship with Cornercopia Student Organic Farm. Cornercopia is a 5.34 acre organic farm located on the St. Paul Campus and is currently the only certified organic land on the University of Minnesota campus. Each year students grow over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables. In 2015 University of Minnesota Dining Services purchased over 2,300 lbs. of produce from Cornercopia, which was served in our Residential Restaurants, Bistro West Restaurant, and at catered events.
Andrew Boss Meat & Dairy Lab
In addition to local farmers and suppliers, University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases cheese and meat from the University of Minnesota Andrew Boss Meat and Dairy Lab Salesroom. The Andrew Boss meat and dairy products are produced in a Minnesota-state certified dairy plant and meat lab by students, staff and faculty. Meat and cheese purchased here is served at catering events, Bistro West Restaurant and at TCF Bank Stadium premium services.
University of Minnesota Bee Lab
Located on the St Paul Campus, the U of MN Bee Lab focuses on research with the goal of promoting pollinator health. The Bee Squad tends to several apiaries on campus from which honey is bottled and purchased by University of Minnesota Dining Services for use within our on campus catering and residential special events. Annually University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases on average seventy-five pounds of honey.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The Arboretum's roots reach back to 1908, when its Horticultural Research Center (HRC) began developing apple varieties that could survive in the state's subzero temperatures. The HRC has grown over the past century to become the center of fruit research for the upper Midwest, generating more than 90 plant introductions. University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases apples from the Arboretum's Apple House in the fall to be used at the Arboretum Restaurant and on campus.
Located in Baldwin, Wisconsin, Future Farm is a sister company of Baldwin Dairy which has been family owned and operated for more than 100 years. Future Farm is a state of the art 27,000 square foot Aquaponic green house that utilizes both methane gas (from the cows!) and electricity to produce heat. The facility is an Aquaponic and Hydroponic system that is currently producing all natural vegetables, Tilapia Fish and Coffee without the use of any harmful chemicals or pesticides. University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases basil and bibb lettuce for use in their dining locations.
Located in Elgin, Minnesota, Wescott's apple orchard was founded by Doc Wescott in the mid 1970's. Wescott Orchards is one of several local apple orchards from which University of Minnesota Dining Services sources over 60,000 apples during the fall months.
Pepin Heights Orchard
Situated on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in Lake City, Minnesota, Pepin Heights is the largest apple producer in Minnesota and the first orchard to commercially produce the Honeycrisp variety. Pepin Heights is one of several local apple orchards from which University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases over 60,000 local apples during the fall apple season.
Axdahl's Garden Farm & Greenhouse
Axhahl's Garden Farm & Greenhouse is a family owned business located in the fertile St. Croix Valley of Stillwater, Minnesota. Axdahl's Garden Farm & Greenhouse is proud to be licensed by Minnesota Grown and certified by Food Alliance Midwest. University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases a variety of Axdahl's produce throughout the growing season.
Costa Farm & Greenhouse
Costa Farm is a third generation family run farm located in Grant, Minnesota with over eighty acres of vegetables and eight greenhouses. University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases a variety of Costa's produce throughout the growing season.
Okray Family Farms
A family owned farm in Plover, Wisconsin has a focus on sustainability and social responsibility. Their efforts toward local sourcing coupled with carbon footprint reductions, equitable hiring opportunities and fair trade practices have earned them a spot in the Vegetable Grower's "Top 100." University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases a variety of potatoes from this farmer throughout their harvest season.
Sustainable Coffee and Tea
University of Minnesota Dining Services offers fair trade, organic and rainforest alliance coffees and espresso drinks in restaurants and coffee shops on campus. These coffees and teas are served at our Starbucks, Java City Eco Grounds, Dunn Bros., and Caribou Coffee locations.
Fair trade coffee is purchased directly from the growers for a higher price than standard coffee. The purpose of fair trade is to promote healthier working conditions for employees and greater economic incentive for producers.
The Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers into sustainable practices.
Coffee that has been grown according to organic farming standards and techniques, without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
In 2014, University of Minnesota Dining Services purchased 3,907 pounds of Fair Trade, 12,900 pounds of Rainforest Alliance and 3,253 pounds of USDA Certified Organic coffee and tea.
University of Minnesota Dining Services has served cage-free eggs since 2006. Cage-Free eggs are produced by chickens raised in open-floor barns with bedding materials, perches and nesting boxes, allowing hens to express their natural behaviors. In 2015, University of Minnesota Dining Services purchased 113,848 pounds of cage-free eggs. For more on Animal Welfare, please see Aramark's Welfare Policy (pictured below)
University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases sustainable seafood through Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch® program. Sustainable seafood comes from fish and shellfish that are not in danger from overfishing and are not caught or farmed in ways that damage the environment. This program helps preserve our oceans and fisheries for future generations. On average, we purchase 20,000 pounds of seafood rated as a "Good Alternative" or "Best Choice" by Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch®. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch® website (www.seafoodwatch.org) for more information about what types of fish are recommended.
Minimizing Meat Consumption
University of Minnesota Dining Services recognizes the importance in minimizing meat consumption and offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan dining options. Our residential recipe collection includes a variety of vegan and vegetarian entrees that are rotated throughout the year. In addition to these entrees, we offer many vegan and vegetarian choices or substitutions at our residential dining stations such as veggie burgers at our grill station by request any day/meal of the week.
University of Minnesota Dining Services actively seeks out and engages with diverse suppliers. We believe the benefits of diversity among our suppliers includes promoting innovation through the introduction of new products, services, and solutions and by providing multiple channels from which to procure goods and services. Since most diverse businesses are small businesses, they aid in the economic recovery, growth and sustainability of their communities. Supplier diversity also assists the country in job creation. Statistics show that nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce is employed by small business.
Our current Diverse Suppliers include:
- Alden Group: LifeOil (lifeoils.com/)
- Litin Paper Company (www.litin.com/)
- Be Graceful Catering (www.cateringedenprairiemn.com/)
- G.O. Fresh (www.gofresh-precut.com/)
- Catallia Mexican Foods (catallia.com/)
- Pelican Staffing Solutions (www.pelicanstaffing.com)
- Sushi Avenue (sushiavenue.com)
- La Loma Tamales (laloma.com)
- Alimama East African Catering
- St. Croix Promotions (www.scpromo.com)
- Panda Express (www.pandaexpress.com)
- Guy Brown Office Solutions (www.guybrown.com)
- Festivities (www.festivitiesmn.com)
- Panino's (paninosmn.com)
- Tropical Nut & Fruit Company (www.tropicalfoods.com)
- City Gril Coffee (citygirlcoffee.com)
- North Star Imaging (northstarimaging.com)
- Favorable Treats (favorabletreats.com)