Sustainable Purchasing

Seafood Watch App
R&DE Stanford Dining is a Seafood Watch partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.


R&DE Stanford Dining, through the Sustainable Food Program, has developed a set of purchasing guidelines and preferences to establish a practical framework and an ongoing process for making food purchasing decisions. The guidelines take into account the best interest of our environment, the social and economic systems on which our food depends and the health of those to whom we serve food. Our guidelines are informed by the most current science and research available and draw on the input and involvement of many stakeholders within our campus community, with the goal of improving the overall health, safety, security and sustainability of our food supply. Generally speaking, we prefer to purchase food that is:

LOCAL: We prefer to purchase food that was grown, raised or processed within 150 miles of campus.

DIRECT: We prefer to purchase food directly from independently owned growers, producers and manufacturers.

ORGANIC/SUSTAINABLE: We prefer to purchase USDA certified organic produce, processed items, meat, dairy, poultry and byproducts thereof, and Seafood Watch-approved seafood.

HUMANE: We prefer to purchase meat, dairy, poultry and byproducts thereof that originate from livestock that were allowed to range freely and to express their natural instincts and behaviors for the entirety of their lives.

FAIR: We prefer to purchase food that traded at economic, social and environmental parity.

Local and Sustainable Producers

The fundamental pursuit of our Sustainable Food Program is to find answers to a small number of simple questions about the food we eat: where, how, and by whom was it grown, raised or processed, and how was it traded? In our experience, the most satisfying answers to these questions come by way of the people who were directly involved in the production of our food, and they play a big part in our Sustainable Food Program.

In addition to the direct relationships we’ve built with the partners listed below, we purchase local produce from over 150 local growers through carefully selected local distributors.


Straus Family Creamery

All of R&DE Stanford Dining's skim, low-fat, and whole milk is organic and local milk from Straus Family Creamery. Straus Family Creamery is an organic dairy producer located in Marshall, California, which is 84 miles north of Stanford. Straus Family Creamery was the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi River and the first 100% certified organic creamery (allowing them to make ice cream, butter, and other products from their milk) in the U.S. The Straus Family Creamery cows spend their days in pasture and are never treated with hormones and antibiotics.


Bartels Farms
All of our hamburgers are grass-fed, and the beef comes from Bartels Farms. Bartels is a fourth generation family business founded in 1898 in Eugene, Oregon. Their beef is always grass-fed, and they have a humane handling program that is audited twice a year. They do not use antibiotics, supplemental growth hormones, or GMO crops. Additionally, they compost on site and have a wastewater management plan to minimize their impact on the environment.


ALBA Organics - Salinas Valley, CA
R&DE Stanford Dining has partnered with ALBA Organics in Salinas, CA since 2003, which provides distribution and market access for about 30 small organic farms to expand and diversify their production. The Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) “generates opportunities for farm workers and limited-resource, aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops” to institutional purchasers like R&DE Stanford Dining. ALBA's mission is to “advance economic viability, social equity and ecological land management among limited-resource and aspiring farmers.”

Sea Food Watch

Seafood Watch - Monterey, CA
R&DE Stanford Dining is a Seafood Watch partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We promise to never offer anything from the red “Avoid” category of the seafood watch card and to help build awareness about ocean-friendly seafood choices by bringing in guest chefs and experts in the field to our dining halls and providing labeling and signage about seafood to students.

Niman Ranch

Niman Ranch
The majority of our fresh pork comes from Niman Ranch, which "believes that in order to produce the finest tasting all-natural meat in the world you must begin with the strictest protocols. That means working with small U.S.
family farmers who are committed to raising the highest quality breeds and are dedicated to caring for their livestock traditionally. These guiding philosophies, from the genetics we source, to the feeds we use, to the humane animal raising standards contribute to the consistently, best tasting, all-natural beef, pork, lamb and smoked and prepared meats."

Taku River Reds

Taku River Reds Fishery - Juneau, AK
We purchase 25,000 pounds of wild Alaskan salmon directly from Heather & Kirk Hardcastle of Taku River Reds Fishery. Heather & Kirk are committed to sustainable fisheries management and work closely with our Sustainable Food Program to educate the Stanford community during our Sustainable Seafood Week.

American Tuna

American Tuna, San Diego, CA & Oregon
American Tuna was formed by six American pole & line fishing families in San Diego California in 2005. The mission of American Tuna is to provide a high quality sustainable canned albacore tuna customers can buy directly from the source. Using a traditional harvest and packing method, American Tuna is 100% traceable.

Wilcox Family Farms

Wilcox Family Farms, Roy, WA
Wilcox Family Farms is a 100-year-old family farm in the foothills of Mt. Ranier. Founded in 1909 by Judson and Elizabeth Wilcox, Wilcox Family Farms is now run by the family's fourth generation. R&DE Stanford Dining buys whole and liquid cage free eggs from Wilcox.



Fair Trade

Fair Trade USA & Starbucks Coffee
R&DE Stanford Dining serves only Fair Trade Starbucks coffees in the dining halls. The coffee is certified by a third party, Fair Trade USA, who ensures that farmers and workers are given fair prices and credit, fair labor conditions, have transparent and democratic organizations, and are allowed to deal directly with purchasers. Fair Trade principles ensure that environmentally sustainable farming practices are used, which also protects the farmers' health. Fair Trade premiums are used to invest in community development projects, including schools, scholarships, training, and organic certification.

Earthbound Farm

Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, CA
Earthbound Farms was started in 1984 by Drew and Myra Goodman. They specialize in lettuce mixes and supply R&DE Stanford Dining with organic & local spring mix and romaine. Earthbound Farms is also a leader in food safety, ensuring that the salad greens we serve are not only delicious, but safe.


Coke Farm

Coke Farm, San Juan Bautista, CA
Founded in 1981 by Dale Coke, Coke Farms has been growing organically in California. Coke Farm supplies R&DE Stanford Dining with organic chard and other produce year-round. Coke Farm has helped small growers in the region expand by providing storage and shipping for local organic farms.




Jacobs Farm

Jacobs Farm, Pescadero, CA
Jacobs Farm is an organic farm located in Pescadero, which is 30 miles west of R&DE Stanford near the Pacific Ocean. Jacobs Farm specializes in organic herbs and edible flowers, and they grow over 60 varieties of herbs and flowers. Beginning in 2013, five of R&DE Stanford Dining's purchased herbs (basil, Thai basil, mint, rosemary & thyme) will be from Jacobs Farm.