Once again, The University of Winnipeg is home to the most sustainable campus meals in North America and beyond.
Thanks to the incredible work of Diversity Food Services, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) scored UWinnipeg as the top campus in the food and dining category in their annual Sustainable Campus Index, topping 500-plus other institutions from 14 different countries.
Ian Vickers, Chief Operating Officer, says they continue to dominate the yearly index because of their continued commitment to cultural, social, environmental, and economic sustainability, while keeping everything as local as possible.
“We find our vendors by being active in the community, visiting farmers’ markets, through local conferences, and other business connections,” he said. “Diversity Foods has been operating at UWinnipeg for 11 years now. In that time, we’ve developed deep community roots that allow us to know what’s happening in and around the Winnipeg food production market.”
UWinnipeg scored 89% on this year’s AASHE index. Scoring is based on meatless dining and sustainable food and beverage purchasing and practices. The next closest university in the rankings is almost 20 percentage points behind, sitting at 70.6%.
One of the reasons for the huge gap is because of Diversity works with nearly 100 local companies that are owner-operator, co-operatives, and non-profits. By supporting local, they’re not only investing back into the Manitoba economy, but ensuring their products are ethically sourced.
“Buying local also means we’re able to know what the working conditions are like at the businesses in our supply chain,” Vickers explained. “By supporting local, we can be assured there is no slavery or forced child labour being used to generate the product.”
One of those local vendors is Heart Acres Farm in Saint Germain South. While they’ve been around for three years, they are relatively new to Diversity’s procurement chain.
“They’re a social justice and climate justice company that is practicing fantastic earth stewardship,” Vickers said.
Diversity’s 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 and University staff have worked very hard over the last decade to provide the most sustainable campus food possible,” said Joseph Wasylycia-Leis, UWinnipeg’s Coordinator in the Campus Sustainability Office. “It’s exciting that this work continues to be recognized on the international stage and that UWinnipeg continues to be looked at as an example of how to do campus dining the right way,” he said.
While it’s been a challenging year, the outpouring of support from the UWinnipeg community has been instrumental in keeping Diversity afloat.
“The community has been there for us when it comes to curbside groceries and meal delivery on campus,” Vickers said. “Those community members are the reasons we’re still around and able to operate.”
Other Diversity suppliers 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.
To make an order, visit Diversity Food Services online ordering or email firstname.lastname@example.org.