rows of greens in a hoop house

Sustainable Food Systems

Clean, Green, & Healthy Dining

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.

32%
of Dining Services food was sustainably sourced in 2020
11,700
pounds of produce grown at the Terp Farm in 2020
16%
reduction in carbon emissions per plate between 2017-2020
Volunteers in the community garden

Opportunties

Programs to help you support sustainable food on campus

Testudo at the Farmer's Market
Campus Farmers Market:

Shop at the UMD weekly Farmers Market Wednesdays 11am-3pm at Tawes Plaza. Reopens September 8 through November 17.

Explore
Food from the Community Learning Garden
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.

Volunteer with the CLG
take action
Terp Farm:

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.

Learn more about the farm
Student volunteers with the Food Recovery Network
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.

Join the Food Recovery Network
greenhouse

Achievements

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.

Sustainability in the Food System

Explore the sustainable dining programs at UMD through an interactive article

Read the SustainableUMD Progress Hub article
UMD Signs Cool Food Pledge

UMD Becomes First University to Join Coalition Fighting Climate Change Through Sustainable Menu Choices

Read the Dining Services article
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

Read the Maryland Today article
Smoothie-ing the Path to Sustainability

Student Business Turns Homely Fruit Into Chuggable Nectars

Read the Maryland Today article
Wrestling with Food Waste

Dietetics Grad’s Latest YouTube Cooking Competition Episode Aims for Efficiency With Ingredients

Read the Maryland Today article
NSF Awards UMD $3M to Launch Global STEWARDS Program

Graduate Trainees Will Advance Sustainable Food, Energy, Water Systems

Read the Maryland Today article
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