Food systems– from agriculture to campus dining– shapes the health and well-being of people and the environment.
The University of Maryland has spearheaded sustainable food systems, from research and service to growing and sourcing local, fair, ecological, and humanely raised food for campus dining.
Programs to help you support sustainable food on campus
Campus Farmers Market:
Shop at the UMD weekly Farmers Market Wednesdays 11am-3pm at Tawes Plaza. Reopens September 8 through November 17.
Community Learning Garden:
This community garden grows produce and donates to the campus food pantry. The garden is run by volunteer students, staff, and faculty – join as a weekly volunteer or schedule a group volunteering event.
Dining Services runs the Terp Farm project at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station in Upper Marlboro, MD 15 miles from the College Park campus. Find Terp Farm produce at campus dining halls, the Green Tidings Food Truck, and the Campus Pantry. Volunteer, intern, or tour the farm.
Food Recovery Network:
The Food Recovery Network collects surplus food from campus dining and delivers to homeless shelters. Volunteer to help or request recovery from your next event.
UMD Initiatives supporting sustainable food on campus
Cool Food Pledge: In August 2019, the University of Maryland became the first university signatory of the World Resources Institute Cool Food Pledge, committing Dining Services to slash food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25% below 2017 levels by 2030.
Sustainable Food Commitment: UMD Dining Services surpassed their target of 20% sustainable food before the 2020 target. Around 32% of the food served on campus was sourced sustainably in 2020 (local, fair, ecologically sound, or humanely raised).
Menus of Change: UMD Dining is a member of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative. This network of over 65 universities, research centers, and other organizations is accelerating efforts to move people toward healthier, more sustainable, and delicious foods using evidence-based research, education, and innovation.
Anytime Dining: 83% of dining hall waste was either composted or recycled in Spring 2020, after switching to all reusable dishes and silverware, and initiating composting in Dining Halls in 2016.
UMD’s Ocean Friendly Campus Initiative: Dining replaced approximately 1.3 million plastic items from campus annually including bags, utensils, and straws, and provided reusable bags to all 9,000 Anytime Dining plan members. Get a 5-cent discount for using your reusable bag in a campus shop. Where possible, UMD Dining offers compostable straws, paper bags, compostable utensils, and paper stirrers.
Food Recovery Network: In 2014, UMD students started the national non-profit, the Food Recovery Network which has since expanded to chapters across the country. Students volunteer to recover surplus food from dining halls, events, and sports games that would otherwise go to waste and donate it to homeless shelters in MD and DC. Between 2011 and 2019, student volunteers worked with Dining to recover and donate 288,292 total pounds of food.
Related Academic and Research Programs:
- College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Department of Nutrition & Food Science
- UMD Extension
- Food, Water, and Energy Nexus
- Bee-Keeping Club
- PB & Justice
- MaryPIRG Anti-Hunger group
Sustainable Food Stories:
Sustainability in the Food System
Explore the sustainable dining programs at UMD through an interactive article
UMD Signs Cool Food Pledge
UMD Becomes First University to Join Coalition Fighting Climate Change Through Sustainable Menu Choices
UMD-led NASA Harvest Program Teams Up With CropX to Support Sustainable Agriculture
Researchers in the Department of Geographical Sciences improve farming sustainability through resource conservation and enhanced crop yields
Smoothie-ing the Path to Sustainability
Student Business Turns Homely Fruit Into Chuggable Nectars
Wrestling with Food Waste
Dietetics Grad’s Latest YouTube Cooking Competition Episode Aims for Efficiency With Ingredients
NSF Awards UMD $3M to Launch Global STEWARDS Program
Graduate Trainees Will Advance Sustainable Food, Energy, Water Systems