UF Gator Dining Services Wins National Award for Sustainability

Gainesville, FL  Gator Dining Services (GDS) and Aramark at the University of Florida received the Silver Award for Procurement Practices in Sustainability from the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS). The Sustainability Awards recognize and honor member institutions each year that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability, specifically as it relates to campus dining operations. GDS and Aramark’s procurement practices prioritize food grown, packaged, and distributed within the state by creating direct partnerships with local vendors.

The University of Florida is the largest land-grant university in Florida, with strong ties to the state’s agricultural industry. Vendors including Sweetwater Organic Coffee Company (Sweetwater) and Nettles Sausage Company, located within 40 miles of the university, serve GDS customers while aligning with the university’s land-grant mission.

By sourcing food within Florida, GDS contributes to decreased food miles, preservation of green spaces and responsible growing practices, positively benefiting the surrounding environment. To increase awareness of local offerings on campus, GDS features “Fresh from Florida” products in a recipe every Friday, showcasing the producer and how many miles away from campus the product is grown. Each semester, GDS hosts a “Fresh from Florida Festival” event, gathering vendors, partners, UF employees and state employees to connect and collaborate with each other.

“Gator Dining Services is dedicated to continuously partnering with our local vendors and promoting them on our campus” said Marketing Manager, Jill Rodriguez. “We are honored to be recognized by NACUFS for our efforts in incorporating local products into our everyday dining operations.”

The goal of these initiatives is to increase the amount of food purchased from local Florida vendors. Daily menu items at GDS locations have been transitioned to local products, including coffee, burger patties, romaine lettuce, milk, grab and go kosher items and more. Incorporating these staple items ensure local Florida products are offered at the University of Florida, regardless of season.

The NACUFS Sustainability Awards are granted to universities based on their overall triple bottle line impact, a positive impact on profit, as well as environmental sustainability and social responsibility. NACUFS has supported college and university foodservice members with programs and resources to promote excellence in collegiate dining for over 60 years.

For additional information on the University of Florida’s dining initiatives, visit the Gator Dining Services page.