UofL seeks to provide ever greater access to local, healthy, and sustainably produced food.

Campus Dining

UofL works hand-in-hand with our food services provider, Aramark, on a variety of campus dining sustainability initiatives:

Eating Green Calculator - Get a handle on the impact of your eating habits and the benefits of eating differently!

  1. Local Purchasing: We support local farms and businesses, with a contractual requirement that at least 20% of all food purchases be sourced from within 250 miles of campus, including produce, dairy, meats, breads and baked goods. We continue to exceed that minimum and increase our local purchasing. Recent local food suppliers include: Creation Gardens, Piazza Produce, Klosterman's Bakery, Popcorn Station, Clem's Refrigerated Foods, Aqua Sushi, Dean's Milk, Sysco Louisville, and Heine Brothers.
    DateUofL Dining
    Local Food
    Direct Farm
    All Campus Vendors
    Local Food
    Total Dining
    Local Purchases
    Fall '16
    Fall '15
    - UofL Dining Local Food = Amount of UofL Dining controllable food purchases sourced from a food producer, processor, or distributor within 250 miles of campus. EXCLUDES sodas, ice, and large agribusiness products (Kellogg, FritoLay, Conagra, General Mills, Pepsi, Armour-Eckrich), as well as food purchased by on-campus chain franchises and food trucks.
    Direct Farm Impact = Amount of UofL Dining controllable food purchases sourced from a farm within 250 miles of campus.
    All Campus Vendors Local Food = Amount of food purchases by UofL Dining plus on-campus chain franchises and food trucks that was sourced from a food producer, processor, or distributor within 250 miles of campus. EXCLUDES sodas, ice, and large agribusiness products (Kellogg, FritoLay, Conagra, General Mills, Pepsi, Armour-Eckrich).
    Total Dining Local Purchases = Total amount of purchasing power spent by UofL Dining plus on-campus chain franchises and food trucks at businesses located within 250 miles of campus. Includes food and non-food purchases (supplies, construction, services, etc.). EXCLUDES sodas and large agribusiness products (Kellogg, FritoLay, Conagra, General Mills, Pepsi, Armour-Eckrich).
  2. Food Waste Composting: In 2010, we began a pilot pre-consumer food waste composting program in our main campus kitchens. Over 1000 pounds of kitchen waste was collected by volunteers and composted on campus each week, turning a waste product into valuable organic fertilizer for the campus vegetable garden and landscaping. In 2012, we went full-scale and now send as much as 6000 pounds/week of both pre- and post-consumer food waste to a composting facility in southern Indiana. Learn more here.
  3. Healthy and Vegetarian/Vegan Dining:
    - Explore your choices with our Vegetarian & Vegan Guide to UofL Dining!
    - Minimizing meat consumption and transitioning to a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet has proven to have tremendously healthy impacts on our bodies and our planet. The conventional meat industry is resource-intensive and exploitative. For one thing, a 2013 study by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization found that meat production globally generates more greenhouse gases than all the world’s cars, planes, trains, and ships combined. That adds up to an estimated 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions! By carefully considering what you put on your plate, you can make a big difference in your personal health and our global future.
    - Learn how to assemble a healthy meal with the UofL Smart Plate guide! The Louisville Cardinal has prepared this guide for how to eat healthy on campus.
    - The Ville Grill (3rd & Brandeis) provides numerous healthy options, including a salad bar; a vegetarian & vegan station with a menu dedicated to serving protein-balanced and nutrient-dense meals at every meal; and an allergen-free station which also serves as a great option for vegans, since processed foods are avoided and all are prepared with no milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts or gluten.
    - Healthy and Vegetarian options are available at nearly every other campus dining venue. Look for the special icons on menus around campus and check out our Vegetarian & Vegan Guide to UofL Dining!
    Look for these labels to guide your healthy, sustainable dining choices on campus!
  4. Nutritional Information: New online menus include nutritional information about every item. You can choose which meals to view and do a comparison to help you plan a healthy, delicious meal. Learn how to assemble a healthy meal with the UofL Smart Plate guide!
  5. Trayless, Non-disposable Dining: We offer trayless dining campus-wide and real plates, glasses, and silverware at The Ville Grill, our all-you-care-to-eat dining hall at 3rd & Brandeis (open to all students, employees and the public). This helps to reduce the amount of trash produced and food wasted (our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs!), as well as the resources that would be used to wash the trays.
  6. Food Donation: When available, UofL Dining donates left-over food to the needy. This practice began many years ago with donations to The Lord’s Kitchen and Wayside Christian Mission. In 2017, UofL Dining began a new program through the Food Donation Connection to supply leftovers to the Franciscan Kitchen in Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood.
  7. Reusable Mug/Cup Program: Receive 10 cents off your next drink whenever you bring your own reusable mug or cup to the SAC Marketplace, Twisted Taco in Louisville Hall, the SRC Cafe, or to any Starbucks or P.O.D. location on campus! At McAlister's in MITC, you'll receive half-priced ($1 off) drinks when you fill up with your own reusable McAlister's cup.
  8. Recycled Napkins: We use napkins made of 100% recycled materials at all of our dining locations on campus.

Past Sustainable Dining Initiatives:

  1. Humanely-raised Meat & Eggs: We have sought to source meat from humane producers in the past. For instance, all of the beef served at the former Cardinal Burger Company (SAC 2nd level, 2013-15) was sourced from Marksbury Farm in Garrard County, KY whichprovides not only local, but pasture-raised, grass-fed beef with no artificial hormones or steroids. In 2014, UofL's former Dining Service provider, Sodexo made a commitment to only source cage-free shell eggs. In Feburary 2015, Sodexo released its Global Animal Welfare Policy, outlining a phased approach to sourcing poultry, beef and veal from suppliers and fostering improved animal well-being through its supply chain. Read more. See an infographic summarizing Sodexo's Animal Welfare Policy.
  2. Zero-Waste Reusable To-Go Club: In 2015-16, UofL Dining piloted a new take-out service in truly sustainable style – without adding to the waste stream!! Ville Grill To-Go Club memberships could be purchased in person at The Ville Grill for just $10. Membership earned you a reusable container, unlimited washing of the container and compostable cutlery & napkins, should you need them. This program struggled to gain traction and we are exploring zero-waste take-out options for the future.
  3. Local Farm Profiles:  Read profiles of some of our past local food suppliers, including Grateful Greens, Creation Gardens, Bourbon Barrel Foods, and Marksbury Farm.
  4. Waste Cooking Oil to Biodiesel: In 2009 Chemical Engineering faculty and students became involved in the conversion of waste vegetable oil from UofL Dining services into biodiesel used to fuel our campus shuttle. In 2011, we experimented with scaling-up this effort as UofL Dining supplied even more used cooking oil for local conversion into biodiesel. The project began through a partnership with the now defunct Louisville Biodiesel Cooperative and then Kelley Green Biofuel of Goshen, KY (5100 Greenhaven Lane), a community-scale, ASTM-certified, National Biodiesel Board registered biodiesel producer with an annual capacity of 75,000 gallons, located just 30 miles from campus. Check out the details of the project here. Currently our waste cooking oil is collected for repurposing by Griffin Industries and only a small percentage is converted to biodiesel.

Fair Trade

UofL Dining is committed to doing the right thing. One way we are actively supporting this commitment is by ensuring that all of the coffee served at UofL's campus dining facilities is Fair Trade certified. All P.O.D. locations on campus offer both Fair Trade coffee and chocolate. Fair Trade certification ensures that producers are treated fairly and paid a fair wage for their products. Fair Trade also involves a more direct relationship between the producer and the purchaser, to reduce the amount of profit absorbed by middle men. UofL supports Fair Trade and we seek to provide even more Fair Trade options in the future.

Ordering Food? Get it delivered by UofL grads who launched Louisville's first hyper-local, environmentally-friendly, low-cost food delivery service: Arrow Food Couriers.

Local Foods Catering

Ordering food for a campus event? Why not use the occasion to highlight delicious, fresh, seasonal, sustainable food from our region? It won't necessarily cost you more, but it will definitely cost the planet less. UofL Dining Catering offers great local food options throughout the year, as does Farm To Fork Catering, and many other area caterers.

Reduce your impact even more and enhance the healthiness of your offerings by requesting low-meat or vegan catering. No matter who you hire, just remember to ask for local!...and as few disposable items as possible. No bottled water or styrofoam, please!

Campus Organic Gardens

You can help grow food right here on UofL's campuses! Our largest food garden is the Garden Commons at the Cultural Center, but our Belknap campus also features the Urban & Public Affairs Horticulture Zone behind Bettie Johnson Hall at 426 W. Bloom St. Both are community spaces open to all students, faculty, staff and community members for learning about organic urban agriculture, more sustainable food systems, and building resilient community. Come on out and get your hands the most delicious way possible! Learn more here.

Learn To Cook!

Everyone at UofL has the opportunity to learn how to cook with fresh, local ingredients for improved personal and planetary health through the Office of Health Promotion or Get Healthy Now! Both work to support your healthy choices through cooking workshops, shopping guidance, and tasty recipes. Whether you are a novice or expert cook, a poor student or a rich entrepreneur, our helpful guidance makes it easier to create quick and nutritious meals. In addition to nutritional advice and guidance, Health Promotion offers:

Grocery Store Tours - Learn how to buy fresh, affordable, and real food at your local grocery store!

Cooking Workshops - Learn from a local chef how to prepare meals using student-friendly recipes!

The food you have on hand largely determines how healthfully you will eat. So wisely stocking your pantry is a step toward your good health!

Kentucky Proud Products

Kentucky Proud UofLUofL is Kentucky Proud! In addition to the local food available in our dining halls and farmers' markets, our campus store and features Kentucky Proud products made right here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Take some home today or get them for a loved one - Kentucky Proud products make great gifts that support our state's food and agriculture economy!


Centerplate, which provides food and beverage services at UofL athletic venues, has agreed to purchase at least $50,000 of Kentucky Proud products in 2016. The products include Kentucky-grown popcorn and local meat and cheese. Products include Kentucky Proud popcorn, grown by western Kentucky farm families and processed by Preferred Popcorn; burgers from The Chop Shop of Wolfe County and Omni Meats of Bowling Green; meats from Brooks Meats of Walton; and Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese of Barren County. The products will be available at Uof L athletic events at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the KFC Yum! Center, Jim Patterson Baseball Stadium and the University of Louisville Golf Club.

UofL Farmers' Markets

Gray Street Farmers' Market

Thursdays, 10:30am – 1:30pm (May 17 through October 25, 2018)
At UofL's Health Sciences Center by the
School of Public Health & Information Sciences
400 block of E. Gray St, between Preston & Jackson.

  • The Gray Street Farmers’ Market began in 2009 as an outreach program of the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Stop by at lunch time every Thursday (rain or shine) mid-May through October.
  • With 11 unique local vendors, you'll find the finest in farm-fresh local products, Gray Street Farmers Marketincluding fruits, vegetables, pasture-raised meat & eggs, popcorn, honey & syrup, jams, granola, bread & baked goods, flowers, plants, prepared lunches, food trucks, and more.
  • Cash, debit cards, SNAP benefits, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Vouchers accepted!
  • Access our collection of delicious recipes for local products.
  • Watch Vendor Spotlights and recordings of our Monthly 20/20 Talks (a short seminar series on food and sustainability) on the GSFM YouTube Channel!
  • The market is sponsored by UofL's School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Contact the market manager. Full details here, or follow on Facebook
  • Easily accessible from Belknap Campus on TARC Route 18 (free with UofL ID) or via a pleasant 15 minute bike ride.

Gray Street Farmers Market produceGray Street Farmers Market joins association to make healthy, local food more accessible (UofL News, May 31, 2017)
Nothing beats the taste of homegrown goodness
(UofL News, ‎May 16, 2016‎)
Gray Street Farmers Market Brings Produce To Food Desert (WFPL, May 18, 2016)
Gray Street Farmers Market serves up community (Courier-Journal, May 20, 2016)
Gray Street Farmers Market gives low-income seniors greater access to fresh food
Gray Street farmers' market adds outreach program to area's neediest residents

There are dozens of other farmers' markets all around town just about any day of the week, some year-round, others well as Fresh Stops and Healthy In A Hurry corner stores. Find local food near you:

Belknap Farmers’ Market (on hiatus)Belknap Farmers Market Logo


UofL launched a weekly Farmers' Market on Belknap Campus in May 2014. From May to October 2014-2016, the market operated every Thursday, 3:30-6:00pm at 3rd St & Brandeis Ave in front of The Ville Grill. The market struggled to sustain a steady customer base throughout the summer months. After a year off to regroup, the market is relaunching in 2018 as a Spring Market in April and a Fall Market August 15 - October 24. The 2018 markets will be held Wednesdays 11am-2pm at the Red Barn. The market offers farm-fresh local products, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, prepared meals, baked goods, honey, popcorn, granola, canned goods, natural home & body care products, crafts, and more. The Office of Health Promotion & Get Healthy Now also participate to provide healthy local food samples, cooking demos, and healthy-living tips.

  • We will once again host a Belknap Farmers' Market Holiday Bazaar in the Red Barn on Thursday, November 30, 2017 from noon-3pm, featuring 17 different local producers - crafts, holiday items, locally-canned goods (pickles, salsas, jams, etc.), honey, baked goods, jewelry, wreaths, pottery, and more!

Belknap Farmers Market 2016Belknap Farmers Market shuts down for 2017 (The Louisville Cardinal, Jan. 13, 2017)
Farmers Market returns to Belknap for third year (UofL News, May 17, 2016)
Professor farms year-round to ‘make a difference’ (The Louisville Cardinal, Jan. 8, 2016)
Our Hero: Jeneen Wiche of the University of Louisville and Swallow Rail Farm (EcoCentric, Dec. 3, 2015)
Farmer’s Market brings healthy options to campus (Louisville Cardinal, Sept. 3, 2015)
Farmers markets show how to cook it up (Courier-Journal, June 11, 2014)
Video: Why shop at Farmers' Markets? (a student's perspective)
Video: UofL opens Belknap Farmers Market

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program

PictureSince 2016, UofL has hosted a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick-up at the Health Sciences Center for those seeking to invest directly in a local, chemical-free, seventh generation family farm and to enjoy a share of the harvest!Learn more about subscribing to the Barr Farms CSA and sign-up here. You'll enjoy a weekly (or biweekly) delivery of fresh, local, sustainably-grown produce from May through October!

  • CSA Pick-up Time: Tuesdays 2-6:30pm (May 30 - Oct. 31, 2017)
  • CSA Pick-up Location at UofL: MedCenter One Building (questions? Contact Andrea Sinclair, 502-852-6501)
  • Costs:
    Full Share (about 7-10 items/week): $26/week ($575for the 22-week season).
    Half Share (Pick-up EVERY OTHER week): $26.80/box ($295 for the season).
  • 12-week Summer Shares & 10-week Fall Shares are also available for those who don't need or want to commit to a full season.
  • Full Details & Sign-ups here

History of Belknap CSA Program:
For many years prior to the opening of our Belknap Farmers' Market in 2014, UofL facilitated a process through which individuals were able to subscribe for campus delivery of a weekly selection of fresh, seasonal foods direct from area farmers, complete with a weekly newsletter full of recipes.

  • In 2013, we were able to offer an expanded, year-round Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in partnership with the now closed Grasshoppers Distribution which provided weekly deliveries at the University Club parking lot on Thursdays 4-5pm. The all-local Root Cellar green grocer also sent its mobile market - The Root Mobile - to campus for walk-up purchases and special deliveries in coordination with the CSA deliveries. You did not have to be a weekly subscriber to place individual orders through Grasshoppers' highly flexible a la carte system that provided weekly deliveries of local produce, diary, eggs, cheeses, bread, sweets, pasta, beef, pork, poultry, specialty meats, condiments, prepared foods, teas, and locally-roasted coffee. With the sudden closing of Grasshoppers in late 2013, this was no longer be an option.

You can get a feeling for how the program worked from the 2013 program: Full details of all 2013 CSA options here. Participating CSA farms for 2013 included two new farms:

  1. Grasshoppers Distribution (Louisville distributor for multiple area farms) offered weekly drop-offs at University Club parking lot on Thursdays 4-5pm beginning June 6, 2013. You did need not be a weekly subscriber to place individual orders through Grasshoppers' highly flexible a la carte year-round system that provided weekly drop-offs of local produce, diary, eggs, cheeses, bread, sweets, pasta, beef, pork, poultry, specialty meats, condiments, soups, teas, and locally-roasted coffee.
  2. Joe Trigg's Farmers2City Connection (F2CC) CSA (Glasgow, KY - Barren Co.) offered Thursday 4-5pm drop-offs at Lutz Hall circle May 30 - Sept. 12, 2013; Full-share $22/wk, Half-share $12.50/wk; Questions: Joe Trigg 270-303-1244,
  3. Finger Picking Farms (Palmyra, IN) Offered UofL drop-offs and possible home delivery; Full-share $20.50/wk, Half-share (every other week) $11.36/wk; Contact: Nicholas Posante 502-287-8206,
  4. EpiCurious, Hemmer Hill Farm (Crestwood, KY) Offered Thursday drop-offs at the University Club circle; Full-share $21.74/wk, Half-share (every other week) $13/wk; Contact: Joyce Keibler 502-228-3860,
  • Each year UofL invited students, staff and faculty to connect directly with local farmers through our CSA program. Direct questions to Mitchell Payne, 852-5155, mitchell.payne (at)
  • Customers subscribed to a CSA in the spring, providing farmers with much-needed income at the beginning of the growing season, and then share in the bounty of the harvest.
  • Options for farm-fresh food baskets included not only fresh vegetables and fruits, but mushrooms, meats, cheeses, eggs, and more.
  • Full shares started as low as $20.50 per week. Lower-cost/quantity half-shares started at $11.36/wk are also available, or some customers split a share with friends.
  • All UofL staff, faculty, students, and the public were welcome to participate.
  • Connect with other subscribers and find more information at the UofL CSA Facebook Page.
  • The program helped support our local economy, promoted healthy eating, and reduced the environmental impact of transporting, processing, and packaging food from far away.