Diversity Food Services is serving up the most sustainable campus meals in all of North America at The University of Winnipeg.
It’s the fifth consecutive year the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) scored UWinnipeg as the top Canadian campus in the food and dining category in their Sustainable Campus Index, but the first time the University has topped the entire rankings. UWinnipeg beat out 336 other post-secondary schools from across Canada, the United States, and overseas.
“We don’t chase rewards, but it’s pretty amazing to be ranked number one,” said Ian Vickers, Diversity’s Chief Operating Officer. “It makes me proud — we’re truly a decade ahead of where everyone else is.”
UWinnipeg scored 89% on this year’s index, which is up from 65.7% in 2018. Scoring is based on meatless dining and sustainable food and beverage purchasing and practices.
Vickers isn’t sure Diversity would have survived in the same university environment 30 years ago, and credited this generation of students for wanting sustainable, local, and ethically-sourced products.
“I think the current generation actually cares that they’re not using a plastic fork; they care that the chicken has no antibiotics; they care that the packing is compostable; and they care that people are being paid living wages and have access to benefits,” he said, noting for every dollar of revenue, Diversity puts approximately 70 cents back into the local economy.
Their success also hits on key points in UWinnipeg’s institutional sustainability strategy, which focuses on maximizing the environmental and social benefit of purchases wherever possible by working with local suppliers and socially-minded businesses.
“Diversity’s accomplishments show us what can happen when a university sets its mind to working on sustainability in a holistic way, and they exemplify the types of outcomes UWinnipeg is aiming for across the board,” said Joseph Wasylycia-Leis, UWinnipeg’s Coordinator in the Campus Sustainability Office. “We’re also proud of Diversity’s social enterprise management and hiring model, which ensures investment and opportunity for individuals typically excluded from the economy.”
In total, Diversity works with nearly 100 suppliers. They include Simcock Farms, a family-owned ranch in Ile des Chenes that provides bison, ham, and beef; Fratello Coffee Roasters in Calgary, which is a family-owned company that only carries ethically-sourced coffee; and Gunn’s Bakery, which has been a Winnipeg staple for more than 80 years.
About Diversity Food Services
Created in 2009 as a joint venture with UWinnipeg’s Community Renewal Corporation and SEED Winnipeg, Diversity Food Services operates six food outlets at UWinnipeg, in addition to campus and community catering. Those locations are Elements, Pangea’s Kitchen, The MALECÓN, Cafe Bodhi, Tony’s Canteen, and the Duckworth Canteen. They also operate Buffalo Stone Cafe at FortWhyte Alive and Eagle’s Roost Cafe at Players Golf Course.