Our Initiatives

Marist Dining Services is committed to environmental stewardship by integrating awareness, local action, and regional and global thinking into planning and decision making. In light of this responsibility, Marist Dining incorporates, to the extent possible, best practices in food sourcing, waste minimization, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Marist Dining proudly purchases within a 200-mile radius, including beef, pork and poultry, which has established valuable and sustainable partnerships with local farmers and growers. 

Marist Dining Services reports to the Division of Student Affairs and is managed by Sodexo, the leading provider of integrated food and facilities management in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

A Better Tomorrow

From purchasing local seasonal produce whenever possible to reducing inorganic and organic waste, your campus team is dedicated to providing you with an exceptional dining experience that is good for you and good for the planet.

This commitment was formalized with Sodexo's Better Tomorrow Plan. The Better Tomorrow Plan includes 18 commitments for a brighter future by focusing on four key priorities: health, planet, community and our people. Learn more about the Better Tomorrow Commitments.

Local Sourcing

Buying local and regional foods within 200 miles of the Marist campus is a top priority. Marist Dining sources from a range of local farms including pasture-raised beef, pork, poultry, fruits, dairy and vegetables. This reduces energy consumption, shipping waste and greenhouse emissions, while increasing local employment and the vitality of our Hudson Valley farms and community. 

Purdy & Sons provides us with regional, pasture raised meats such as our grass fed hamburgers from Sherburne, New York. Winter Sun Farms supplies us with marinara sauce, apples, corn and green beans, as well as portions of many other fruits and vegetables, grown by 24 independent local farms. Red Barn, Baldor and Freshpoint distributors provide us with local and regional meats, cheeses, condiments, grains, fruits and vegetables sourced from 150+ local and regional farms. Rockland Bakery makes daily deliveries of fresh locally made rolls, breads and bagels from Nanuet NY. Marist Dining also sources produce from its own student-organized campus gardens located adjacent to the Murray Student Center. Local Partners - Campus Dining Services purchases products through many local vendors such as Rockland Bakery, Purdy & Sons, Hudson River Fruit Distributors in Milton NY, Red Barn in Highland, NY, Turncali Farms in Marlboro NY, Porpiglia Farms in Marlboro NY, Dressel Farms in Gardner NY, AJ Dembroski in Plattekill NY and Trapani Farms in Milton NY. FreshPoint Connecticut is a regional distributor that gives us access to vegetables and produce from almost 150 local farms in the New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut tri-state region. Freshpoint is focused on delivering locally grown produce and vegetables through its extensive distribution network for multiple reasons. Among these are that it encourages farmland preservation, bolsters local economies and increases local employment. It also leads to a cleaner environment due to less fuel burned to stock and deliver orders, reduced carbon emissions and a reduction in the use of agricultural pesticides and chemicals.

Hudson Valley Fresh Milk in the Dining Hall

Dining Services stocks only Hudson Valley Fresh milk in the Marist Dining Hall. Hudson Valley Fresh is a not-for-profit dairy cooperative dedicated to preserving the agricultural heritage of the Hudson River Valley by promoting it as one of the premier farming regions of the United States. Sustainable Agriculture – HVF’s mission is to secure a living wage for the farmers and their families who are part of the HVF cooperative. By ensuring a fair price for their dairy products, more local farmers are kept in the business of farming, which means preventing the loss of their land to development. The Hudson Valley Fresh cooperative farms are currently preserving 8,000 acres of open land within the Hudson Valley! Locally Produced and Processed – All Hudson Valley Fresh milk is sourced solely from farms located in Dutchess, Columbia and Ulster Counties of New York State. These farms are all within 20 miles of each other and the processing plant. All HVF dairy products are processed at Boice Brothers Dairy in Kingston, NY. HVF milk is the only milk processed at this facility, and it is never co-mingled with milk from other farms or regions. This guarantees the quality of HVF products. Using a local processing facility also supports local employment, increases creative commerce and entrepreneurship, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions due to product transportation.  Awards for Excellence – Hudson Valley Fresh cooperative farms have won the National Dairy Quality Award and NYS Environmental Stewardship Award, as well as other commendations and certificates of best practices. 

Ronnybrook Milk in Retail Locations

Located less than 40 miles from Marist College, Ronnybrook Dairy Farm supplies campus retail locations with fresh milk daily. The Ronnybrook family has been in business for over 70 years and they manage every phase of milk production - from farm to the cows to the bottling plant - with no third parties involved. Ronnybrook cows enjoy the comfort of cow stalls with individual mattresses and daily pasture access. Ronnybrook does not use pesticides on their fields and instead use cropping techniques that promote healthy soil. Their products are tested daily by state certified and licensed staff for antibiotics and other impurities to ensure that all their products are as wholesome and healthful as possible. 

The Valley Cafe is a locally-sourced pop-up weekly catered lunch. Each meal showcases a different cuisine from around the world or features a meal based on a theme. All ingredients used in preparing Valley Café dishes are purchased locally or regionally, whenever possible. The Valley Café buffet is served in the Cabaret Lounge, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the North register of the Dining Hall (Cabaret side) using a meal swipe.

Recycling

Marist Dining’s sustainability efforts also feature an oil recycling process through Restaurant Technologies’ Fresh Oil Tank Black Box Digital Display. The Black Box records how much cooking oil is being used and tracks this information for an online report of Total Oil Management, also known as TOM. This process allows Restaurant Technologies to fully take care of the delivery of new oil and the tracking, pickup, and recycling of used oil. The used cooking oil is dispensed into its own valve, and is drained and recorded separately. It is then picked up by Restaurant Technologies and transported to a separate location in which it is recycled into biodiesel, allowing for easier and more eco-friendly cooking oil removal and grease recycling.

Saving Energy / Reducing Carbon

Green design best practices, new equipment and system upgrades have reduced our energy consumption and carbon footprint. Our dishwasher uses less water and less electricity for every wash, rinse and sanitizer cycle. Ovens, kitchen equipment, walk-in coolers and freezers are all energy efficient model designs consuming less electricity.

A green roof, super insulated windows, LED lighting and energy efficient heating units within the Student Center have decreased the Dining Hall's energy consumption despite an increase in overall seating capacity.

In 2006, Marist College Dining initiated a successful kitchen and dining hall food waste composting program. In 2013, Marist College Dining Services transitioned to an on-campus food waste digester solution. The food waste digester system is with EnviroPure Systems, a company dedicated to providing a use for food waste. EnviroPure Systems is a hyper-accelerated food decomposition system that allows for the transformation of organic kitchen production and dining room food waste into environmentally safe grey water in less than 24 hours. This on-site breakdown and removal of food waste is possible through a combination of continuous mechanical processing, tightly controlled aerobic decomposition and a proprietary micronutrient additive. 

Reducing Food Waste

Did you know that 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted? Food waste reduction protects arable land, decreases water usage, conserves resources and saves money. At Marist College, Dining Services is reducing food waste in a number of ways.

Marist Dining has limited the number of serve-yourself stations in an effort to reduce waste from over-portioning. Our cook-to-order stations result in serving efficiency, preventing excess food production. Additionally, expanding the variety of offerings at every meal increases satisfaction with our trayless dining initiative, begun in 2009, which reduces food waste, water usage and energy consumption. Marist’s dishwasher system is eco-friendly, designed to use less water and electricity.

Marist Dining also integrated the weigh-the-waste LeanPath program in 2010, which improved production management by pinpointing foods that are being overproduced. The analysis of the problem has allowed us to improve food preparation efficiencies. The LeanPath Program is dedicated to preventing food waste by following a 4-step process: measure, analyze, optimize, empower. The LeanPath program begins by automatically tracking food waste with a scale and integrated camera. Then, it allows for a complete view of the food waste and its financial impact via online dashboard and reports. Next, the LeanPath program sends automated alerts and real-time recommendations for goal setting so Marist Dining can set and achieve our sustainability goals. The process ends with empowerment, as this knowledge inspires the continual minimization of waste across campus. This weight tracking technology allows for quick, clear, and precise data about the school’s sustainability successes.

Marist also takes into account other waste that may not be suitable for the EnviroPure machine. At the conclusion of each meal, if there are remaining food portions, those are donated to the local Poughkeepsie community through the student led Marist chapter of Food Recovery Network. The Food Recovery Network, known as the FRN, is an organization dedicated to uniting college campuses in the fight against food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to people in need. The Marist FRN chapter was founded in the Fall 2015 semester and has donated food to Dutchess Outreach and Youth Mission Outreach in the city of Poughkeepsie since its inception. 

Watch Marist College's Food Recovery Network Chapter in action. 

Protecting Our Environment

Practicing environmental stewardship requires action through a variety of initiatives. Our operation purchases Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood products to support sustainable fishing practices and protect the health of our oceans. Our Hydration Station encourages the use of reusable water bottles, decreasing reliance on disposable bottles that consume limited resources and add to landfills. Students are encouraged to bring reusable cups to retail cafes by receiving a 25 cent discount per drink. Zero-waste catering events are promoted through the use of china, Eco-Ware compostable products and sustainable event planning.

Using Fair Trade Products

Fair Trade commerce helps improve the lives of subsistence farmers and their families by guaranteeing a minimum price for small farm harvests, and encouraging organic and sustainable cultivation methods that are safer for communities, as well as the environment. 

The cultivation of coffee, in particular, has become an issue with both environmental and human rights implications. The Dining Hall serves Aspretto by Sodexo coffee. This coffee is guaranteed to be 100% Fair Trade and Rain Forest Alliance LTO compliant. View additional information here. We also serve Aspretto Numi Organic Teas. All of the tea blends are certified organic and ethically sourced. Six of the eight Numi varieties are also certified Fair Trade teas by Transfair USA. Our retail dining locations on campus also serve Fair Trade blends of Seattle's Best and Starbucks coffees. 

Marist Dining also serves Fair Trade bananas across all operations on campus.