UCSF Sustainability Stories

Spotlight on Sustainability:  UCSF Team Sustainability Award Winner:  Food and Nutrtion Services

Jack Henderson photoUnder the leadership of Jack Henderson, associate director of Nutrition and Food Services (NFS) at the medical center, the NFS staff have developed model programs that integrate sustainability practices into procurement and operational systems, such as sourcing local, sustainable food, and actively recycling and composting waste. The medical center’s NFS is responsible for serving more than 1,500 patient meals per day, as well as managing the Moffitt Café, its satellite retail outlets in the hospital and catering at two of the five campuses.  In 2009, with the input of staff, a simple system was implemented to efficiently sort the waste from meals into one of three bins:  green for compost, blue for recycling and black for landfill.

Henderson’s leadership has resulted in a significant, quantifiable impact.  Some of the NFS accomplishments include:

  • UCSF is the only medical center in the UC system that is composting and recycling patient food waste.

  • By composting all patient waste food, paper plates, cups, and bowls and recycling all rigid plastics, packaging and waste paper, reduced landfill food waste by 87 percent (from 30 bags to 4 bags per day). Before it was all going into the landfill.
  • NFS purchasing policies and practices have been designed to purchase increasing percentages of products that are organic or steroid free and from local vendors to ensure a smaller carbon footprint.
  • UCSF staff have been engaged in sustainable activities, such as composting and recycling.  NFS also conducted educational presentations and interactive activities within the Moffitt Cafe on sustainability, as well as participation in LivingGreen and other campus sustainability programs.

Henderson’s department has also played a leadership role in developing the sustainable food services section of the system-wide UC Policy on Sustainable Practices and has influenced sustainable food services nationally by participating in a study of the potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that could result from a reduction in meat consumption in hospital food services.

For these reasons, NFS was awarded the 2011 Annual Sustainability Award in the team category.

Story by Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact
Photo by Susan Merrell