DHS is committed to playing a vital role in our region's economy by procuring local food and products whenever possible. We believe that it is vitally important to understand where your food comes from and to develop long-term relationships with farmers and producers. We define ‘local’ as provisions that are grown, raised, manufactured, processed, and produced within the state of Colorado or within 250 miles of UCCS. This definition is adapted from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) standard.

The UCCS campus is becoming more and more actively involved in addressing global issues surrounding our shared food supply. Our goal is to become a role model for food sustainability and educational outreach. In this way, we will nourish our campus community and beyond.


Sustainability, Wellness & Learning (SWELL)

The connection between academic integration and promotion of health and wellness through food service transition began to solidify in an overarching inter- and transdisciplinary framework, now called Sustainability, Wellness & Learning or SWELL. SWELL leverages the emerging synergies when health promotion and sustainability (e.g., economic, environmental, social) are integrated. An example of this synergy is found in Food Next Door.

The SWELL Initiative focuses on connecting health and sustainability through local food. The goal is to promote wellness through hands-on learning and skill building in sustainability practices to regenerate human health, cultivate a mindful society, and protect Mother Earth. As part of the SWELL Initiative, a local retail venue was initiated and designed with UCCS' Dining and Hospitality Services, called Food Next Door. Food Next Door is entering its second year of operation and is located inside University Center at "Café 65", the retail eatery on campus. At Food Next Door you will find delicious, locally grown, sustainably focused dishes carefully crafted with nutrition expertise to bring you a well-balanced, tasty lunch.

The SWELL Initiative emphasizes the following areas:

1. Creating a sustainable food community through UCCS' self-operated Dining and Hospitality Services (DHS)
2. Providing campus jobs in DHS linked to sustainability and health.
3. Growing food in campus gardens and greenhouses.
4. Making it easy to eat well at UCCS.
5. Supporting a physically active lifestyle, by integrating UCCS's surrounding nature, trails, and events.
6. Thinking holistically about health and wellness, reconnecting to UCCS's history as the Cragmor Sanatorium.
7. Providing learning opportunities in sustainable food systems (e.g. from seed to plate experiences, academic programs, community courses).
8. Participating with the Colorado local food community, and particularly the Southern Colorado food shed to create a sustainable food network.