University of California, Riverside



Global Food Initiative

Sustainable Food Policy

UCR dining continues to strive to practice sustainability in all food service operations. Currently,

  • In FY 15/16 UC Riverside has committed to feeding students, staff, faculty and guests in ways which are nutritious and delicious, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. Taking a cue from the national "Menus of Change" project —co-sponsored by the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard University’s School of Public Health —UC Riverside has rolled out four major "Seeds of Change" initiatives in the past year, impacting every single retail and residential dining outlet on the campus.
  • In FY 15/16, the UC Riverside residential dining operations exceeded 20% sustainable foods spend.

  • In FY 15/16 Dining Services worked with our fountain beverage supplier to double the number of sugar free and reduced-sugar fountain beverages, while also offering homemade fruit-infused spa waters at the residential restaurants. While overall purchases of fountain beverage mix declined by more than 10%, the purchase of reduced sugar and sugar-free fountain beverage mix increased by 58% as compared to FY 2014/15.
  • In FY 15/16, Dining Services diverted 235 tons of food waste to compost and recycled 15,445 lbs of cooking oil.

Where Does Our Food Come From

UCR uses freshly grown oranges from our own world renowned Citrus Variety Collection and fresh produce come from UCR's very R'Garden, grown by students and staff. In addition, UCR's fresh produce vendor supplies UCR with produce from the greater Los Angeles area. We use Grass Fed Beef and Organic Chicken breasts in our dining halls.

UCR dining Services launched the FarmShare community supported agriculture program during Spring 2015 and featured a Farmers Market on Earth Day.

Chancellor's Committee on Sustainability Food Working Group

Chancellor's Committee on Sustainability Food Working Group  meets every three weeks to work on sustainable food and organic waste diversion projects. The group encourages participation from all UCR community members. We are particularly interested in student and faculty participation. Please email if you are interested.

UCR Community Garden

The UCR Community Garden is a joint effort between Sustainable UCR and Sustainable UCR. The 4,000 square foot garden grows crops for those in need along with individuals and family gardeners who have the option to donate their surplus crops to the Salvation Army's food bank.

For more current news and activities, visit our R'Garden Facebook page

UCR Food Co-Op

The University of California has three Cooperative Extension centers headquartered in Berkeley, Riverside and Davis. They conduct research for the welfare, development, and protection of California agriculture, natural resources, and people. Learn more about the UC Cooperative

To Learn More visit UCR Dining!


Coffee is grown in over 60 different tropical countries and with the worldwide surge increase in demand for coffee, loss of biodiversity is quickly becoming a issue especially with the use of fertilizers and pesticides. When drinking coffee, go with sustainable coffee! The following are indicators to check if the coffee you are drinking is sustainable:

  1. Check for certification – preferably Bird Friendly certification from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. The certification is only given to coffee gown under the most stringent environmental standards of any certification system.
  2. Check the Country of Origin – Some countries like Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia grow coffee under shade, preserving biodiversity. On the contrary, countries like Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam cut trees and grow “sun coffee”. Coffee from these countries are best avoided unless they are Smithsonian Bird Friendly certified.
  3. Look for 100% arabica – There are two types of coffee, arabica and robusta. Arabica is high quality whereas robusta is mass produced in deforested sun with chemicals and most likely low quality. Furthermore, arabica coffee has many different cultivars, try to seek out Bourbon and Typical as these are older types that need at least some shade. Catuai and Caturra are varieties of sun coffee.
  4. Check the Price – Cheap, mass produced coffee is not sustainable for the farmer or the environment.

Bottled Water

Annually, Americans consume 8.6 billion gallons of bottled water. 40% of all bottled water is taken from municipal water sources (tap water), 22% of tested bottled water brands contained chemical contaminants at levels above state health limits, 17 million barrels of oil are used in the production of water bottles yearly which is enough to fuel 1 million cars for a year and only 1 in 5 water bottles are recycled while the other 4 contribute to the 3 billion pounds of waste from plastic water bottles. If possible, use a BPA free reusable water bottle or use a water filter, which can save up to 300 standard bottles per filter.

What You Can Do

Being sustainable not only saves the environment but also saves money. Learn what you can do to be more sustainable:

  • Recycle all bottles, glass and paper if possible using one of the many different recycle bins across campus
  • Purchase a water filter or BPA free water bottle for all your water needs
  • Try to reduce showering by at least 2 minutes
  • Turn off all lights when not in use
  • Use a power adapter to easily disconnect electrical devices at once
  • Purchase produce locally from Farmers markets to cut down on travel costs for produce
  • Bring your own cups to vendors such as Starbucks or Jamba Juice, not only is it cheaper, but you waste less
  • Bring your own bags to the market
  • Use a Food Carbon Calculator: on or
Learn More

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Office of Sustainability
University Village
1223 University Avenue, Suite 200P

Tel: (951) 827-1270
Fax: (951) 827-3890

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