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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.

*Updated February 2024

YU Eats has signed the Food Guide-Friendly pledge 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 
  1. 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.  
  1. 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.   
  • Offering cooking classes through the Teaching Kitchen program. 
  • 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 has signed the Forward Food pledge with 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.  

In January 2024, York University hosted a plant-based culinary education session in collaboration with Forward Food. Read more about the event here 

We invite you to explore our catering menu and dining locations for a wider range of nutritious and mouthwatering plant-forward options i that are not only good for you but also for the planet!  

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

We're proud to announce that York University has been honored with the Fairtrade Canada Silver designation in 2024. This recognition underscores our commitment to ethical sourcing and sustainability practices. Read more about York and Fair Trade.  

Fair Trade Products at YU Eats Locations 

At all YU Eats locations, you'll find a range of fair trade products including coffee, tea, chocolate, and bananas. We believe in supporting fair trade practices that benefit both producers and the environment.  

Discover Our Coffee Selection 

We're excited to offer two exceptional coffee choices: 

Birch Bark Coffee: Certified by the Small Producer Partner (SPP) and organically grown, Birch Bark Coffee is produced by Indigenous descendants. Available at various YU Eats locations including Central Square Cafeteria, Stong Dining Hall, Winters Dining Hall, Bergeron Market, Osgoode, and the Glendon Marché. 

Las Nubes Coffee: Grown in the rainforests of southern Costa Rica, Las Nubes Coffee is a result of collaboration between York University, the Tropical Science Centre in Costa Rica, and local growers' cooperatives. This unique coffee is both organic and fair trade certified. Available at Central Square Cafeteria, Stong Dining Hall, and the Glendon Marché. 

Proud Partnerships and Events 

Between May 27 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. 

Visit the Bookstore 

Don't forget to explore fair trade options available at our Bookstore! 


Friendlier Containers

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.

Water Bottle Free Campus

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!

Lug a Mug

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!

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.

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.