Carolina Dining Services has reached its goal of offering 20 percent sustainable food in UNC dining halls — eight years sooner than expected.
CDS partnered with the student group Fair, Local, Organic to participate in the Real Food Challenge, which was to reach the 20 percent mark by 2020.
And, as CDS announced last month, it reached that mark during the month of September.
Mike Freeman, director of auxiliary services for CDS, said he was not expecting to achieve the goal so soon.
“We were projecting a high 14 percent, so the 20 was a very pleasant surprise,” he said.
Interns for CDS used a tool called the “real food calculator” to audit the dining services’ purchases to determine their cost and if they were fair-trade, local or organic.
Rachel Atkinson, one of the interns, attributed the early success to purchases such as organic chicken and cage-free eggs.
Freeman said he credits the success to CDS employees’ commitment to working with suppliers and being educated about the program.
“On the real food calculator, there is a grid telling you where to purchase food and what counts as sustainable. So the more we do this, the more we buy from what counts,” he said.