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Food Sustainability

With sustainability as one of YU Eats' core values, we have embedded sustainable principles in every aspect of our operations. YU Eats is ensuring that sustainability is integral in meal planning, food sourcing, preparation, and waste reduction while providing access to quality, nutritious, and affordable food to its community members. That is our commitment. Learn more about all our sustainability efforts at York University.

Sustainability in Numbers

100%

Of our coffee, tea and bananas are Fairtrade

93.8%

Of the eggs used are certified cage-free

72.1%

Of our seafood is sourced from sustainable certified suppliers

48%

The rate of return for Friendlier reusable containers

35.1%

The percentage of food sourced from local Ontario growers and producers

60.6%

Reduction of single-use plastic compared to 2022

593 LBS

Of food diverted from waste by donating to Second Harvest

13

Number of locations that offer our Bring Your Own Mug program. 7 dining halls, 4 Tim Hortons and 2 Starbucks.

YU Eats launches Food-Guide Friendly initiative in collaboration with Health Canada. This initiative encompasses a set of Food Guide-Friendly principles that outline actionable steps to enhance the nutritional quality of our dining halls and make healthy food and beverage choices easily available for York U’s community.  

YU Eats commits to the following: 

1. Ensuring the availability of food and beverages that align with Food Guide, which includes: 

  • Offering water 
  • Providing a variety of vegetables and fruits 
  • Incorporating whole grains 
  • Increasing plant-based protein options 

2. Actively promoting food and beverages in alignment with the Food Guide by: 

  • Placing and promoting healthy food options in a manner that encourages customers to select them 
  • Reducing the presence of highly processed foods and sugary beverages 

3. Encouraging lifelong healthy eating behaviours by: 

  • Providing nutrition messaging in our dining halls to support food choices. 
  • Celebrating diverse food traditions and cultures through menu offerings and special events.  
  • Implementing sustainable food and packaging practices to reduce our carbon footprint and advance the United Nations SDGs. 

To Learn more, visit Food Guide Friendly.

YU Eats is thrilled to announce our partnership with Forward Food, an initiative by the Humane Society International/Canada, to enhance our menus with more plant-forward options!  

We are committed to offering diverse, sustainable, and delicious dining choices that cater to the preferences and values of our student community. With Forward Food's innovative culinary resources, we're taking a big step forward in prioritizing plant-forward dishes in our foodservice operations. This partnership not only supports health and well-being but also aligns with global efforts to reduce environmental impact and promote animal welfare.  

We encourage you to explore a wider range of nutritious and mouthwatering plant-based options in our dining locations that are not only good for you but also for the planet!  

To learn more, visit https://www.forwardfood.org/ 

You can find fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate and bananas at all YU Eats locations. Read more about York and Fair Trade.

Our premier coffee supplier, Birch Bark Coffee, is a SPP-certified organic coffee, grown and produced by Indigenous descendants.

Between May 27th and June 2, 2023, York University hosted the largest fair trade event in Canadian history with the 2023 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. York’s Keele and Glendon campuses hosted over 8,000 scholars, graduate students and practitioners.

We have provided an alternative to single-use paper food containers with reusable Friendlier containers! Available at Stong, Winters, Central Square, Dahdaleh Building and Glendon Dining Halls and Osgoode Bistro. Your meal will be served in a Friendlier container that is reusable up to 100 times!

Simply download the Friendlier app, scan the code at the bottom of your container before returning your container to the designated Friendlier bin and get reimbursed $.50 to your account.

Learn how Friendlier works.

The Maloca Community Garden is a space for all members of the University community to experience - from growing their own food to holding special outdoor events to enjoying a great setting for sustainable teaching.

The garden also supports individuals who lack access to land, are want to build skills and knowledge in gardening, strive to raise awareness of food security or simply want to develop community connections.

Get involved.

Our YU Eats locations offer a Lug a Mug program where you can save up to $.25 when you bring your own mug!

Grab a York branded travel mug at the Bookstore!

York University phased out the sale of single use plastic water bottles from its campuses in 2015. This action was in response to the student led "Take Back the Tap" campaign, in which many schools across North America advocated for a more socially conscious approach to drinking water.

York University is committed to providing alternatives to the use of single-use plastics and have since installed 70 water refill stations across both the Keele and Glendon campuses, and retrofitted many existing public water fountains (which number over 200).

Reusable bottles can be purchased on campus at our Bookstore!

Available for purchase at the Bookstore!

Las Nubes Coffee is cultivated on farms adjacent to York’s Las Nubes campus in the rainforests of southern Costa Rica. This unique coffee results from a collaborative effort involving student researchers from York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Tropical Science Centre in Costa Rica, and the local growers' cooperative. It is proudly certified as both organic and fair trade.

The beans are shipped directly from Costa Rica and are locally roasted by our partner, Planet Bean, who describes it as the "unicorn of coffee" due to its exceptional qualities - being Costa Rican, Organic, and Fair Trade. Currently, this coffee is available at Central Square Cafeteria, Stong Dining Hall, and the Glendon Marché. We are excited about the prospect of making it more widely available on campus soon.

Value Meal Program

Value Meals offer York community members access to healthy, nutritious and balanced meals at an affordable price. The menu changes almost daily to cater to all taste buds!

Learn More

Teaching Kitchen

Teaching Kitchens offer free cooking classes that focus on the education in basic cooking techniques. These cooking classes combine culinary instruction using healthful whole ingredients, nutrition education, and mindfulness to address food insecurity with students in mind.

Learn More

Internal Resources Description
YFS Food Support CentreThe York Federation of Students (YFS) Food Support Centre helps students overcome difficult financial circumstances by providing free non-perishable food and basic need items.

YFS also offers a FREE grocery shuttle bi-weekly on Thursdays throughout the year. Details here.
Supports and Resources at York Access to food and supports is important for your student success. This website and the information can help you navigate food support resources across York’s campuses.
External ResourcesDescription
Toronto Food Access MapThis interactive map helps locate food resources across Toronto including food banks, free/low cost meals, community gardens, farmers markets and diverse supermarkets.
Food Support - Black Creek-Humber River areafoodsupport.ca helps connect people in the Black Creek-Humber River area with free food. Food support is a pilot project funded through the United Way Greater Toronto.
Too Good To Go AppToo Good To Go is the app that lets you rescue unsold food. Use the app to explore shops and restaurants in your local area and save surprise bags of surplus food from going to waste at a significantly reduced price.
Flashfood AppGet massive savings on fresh food items like meat and produce that are nearing their best before date at grocery stores.