Food

neon cafe vivian sign

Café Vivian in the Frist Center: sustainable offerings, prepared while you watch.

The University’s Dining Services has collaborated closely with Princeton students for over a decade. Together, they have created an award-winning earth-friendly University dining program, characterized by an eagerness to experiment and innovate. Dining Services continues to adopt precedent-setting practices that lessen the environmental impact of Princeton’s meal options, while intensifying educational efforts in sustainable dining.

Goal

Increase sustainable food purchases to 75 percent by 2020 and raise awareness about green dining.

Progress

  • mushrooms

    Campus Dining participated in the weekly spring campus Farmers’ Market. Featured were delicious samples from local producers, including Blueberry Bill’s blueberries, Severino Pasta, Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms and more. 

  • plated food

    Campus Dining held the inaugural Tiger Chef Challenge as a way to strengthen community engagement through food. The event featured a culinary competition that paired students with chef coaches, an enchanted food garden with fresh produce, and vendors that showcased local and sustainable items. 

  • sustainability award logo

    Campus Dining won the Gold Medal for the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Award for 2016 in the category of waste management for its on-going efforts to minimize waste sent to landfills and waste water systems by diverting biodegradable waste to composting (or other landfill deferred systems) whenever possible, and by maximizing recycling efforts throughout the department. Campus Dining was also awarded the overall Grand Prize across all categories (other categories included Outreach and Education and Procurement Practices).

  • urban cultivator

    Campus Dining is working with students to develop an Urban Cultivator Indoor Hydroponics Program at Café Vivian. The Urban Cultivator is a demonstration of a small scale indoor hydroponic vertical garden.

  • green restaurant certification logo

    In 2016, Campus Dining earned Green Restaurant Association certification for Rockefeller/Mathey and Forbes dining halls.

  • Campus Dining in collaboration with student group Greening Dining held a food waste awareness campaign at Forbes College. 

  • pizza made with local ingredients

    During the academic year and through the summer, the Princeton Garden Project and Campus Dining collaborate to produce menu items featuring the campus garden's organic produce.

  • STARS Silver Award

    The AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) allows metric-driven progress assessment across operations and academics for North American higher education and has recognized Princeton at the Silver leadership level

  • dining hall plates and silverware

    As part of its waste and energy reduction efforts, Dining Services upgraded dishwashers and completed conversion to “tray-free” dining in all of its residential dining halls in 2011, reducing annual campus CO2 emissions by an estimated 23 metric tons. 

  • Screenshot of Princeton Mobile dining carboon footprint

    Campus Dining has now identified the relative carbon footprint of 2,318 food items, an increase from 170 in 2012. Of the items, 1,687 are categorized as low-carbon, 398 are medium carbon, and 233 are high-carbon.  The data are available on the Princeton Mobile app and the Campus Dining website

Sustainable Food Purchase Percentages

Sustainable Food Purchase Percentages
Sustainable Food Purchase Percentages

59 percent of food purchased last year was sustainable, with 44 percent from within 250 miles.

What’s Next

  • The food waste and recovery initiative aims to raise awareness while identifying viable options to recover safe food that is currently composted and provide it to those in need. 

  •  Utilize data-driven decision making to gain efficiencies in kitchen production.

  • Incorporate a hydroponic, vertical indoor garden which will produce organically grown, fresh herbs and/or micro greens throughout the year. This innovative food system will provide opportunities to collaborate with students and faculty. 

  • Reintroduce reusable food containers at Frist Campus Center and evaluate bio-based flatware in place of recycled plastic.