UofL seeks to provide ever greater access to local, healthy, and sustainably produced food.
UofL works closely with our food services provider, Sodexo, on a variety of campus dining sustainability initiatives:
L is for Local! Look for this icon around campus to be sure you're getting the freshest, most local option of the day!
Local Purchasing: We support local farms and businesses, with a contractual requirement that at least 15% of all food purchases be sourced from within 250 miles of campus, including produce, dairy, meats, breads and baked goods.
- In 2013-14, 27.5% of food was locally sourced!
- In 2012-13, 24.7% of food was sourced locally!
- Read profiles of some of our local food suppliers, including Grateful Greens, Creation Gardens, Bourbon Barrel Foods, and Marksbury Farm.
- Check out the Bluegrass Greens station at The Ville Grill which features all local food!
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.
- Trayless, Non-disposable Dining: We offer trayless dining with 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.
- Healthy and Vegetarian/Vegan Dining:
- Find out where to get the good stuff with this handy Vegetarian Guide to UofL Dining!
- The Ville Grill (3rd & Brandeis) provides numerous healthy options, including a salad bar; the Wild Mushroom vegetarian & vegan station with a menu dedicated to serving protein-balanced and nutrient-dense meals at every meal; and the new Simple Servings 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.
- Seasons Salad Bar (SAC 1st level) is UofL’s newest healthy option, offering fresh produce, lean proteins and soup made from scratch daily.
- Healthy and Vegetarian options are available at nearly every other campus dining venue. For instance, look for the vegetarian icons on the menus at the Cardinal Burger Company (SAC 2nd level) or McAlister’s (MITC). Explore your options here!
- If you want an independent, student perspective, check out The Louisville Cardinal's Vegetarian’s Guide to UofL Dining
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.
- Humanely-raised Meat: We seek to source meat from humane producers. For instance, all of the beef served at the Cardinal Burger Company (SAC 2nd level) is sourced from Marksbury Farm in Garrard County, KY which provides not only local, but pasture-raised, grass-fed beef with no artificial hormones or steroids.
Food Donation: When available, we donate left-over food to The Lord’s Kitchen and Wayside Christian Mission. We also have a donation box at our convenience store, The Nest, that allows students to purchase non-perishable foods to donate to our local food bank, Dare to Care. Once a year, Sodexo sponsors an event called Helping Hands that raises awareness about hunger and accepts student donations for our local food bank. Last year students and faculty at the university teamed-up to donate nearly 7,000 pounds of food to Dare to Care.
- Waste Cooking Oil to Biodiesel: Beginning in 2009, Chemical Engineering faculty and students have been involved in the conversion of waste vegetable oil from UofL Dining services into biodiesel used to fuel our campus shuttle. We scaled-up this effort in 2011, when UofL Dining supplied even more used cooking oil for local conversion into biodiesel. The project began through a partnership with the 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.
Recycled Napkins: We use 100% recycled content napkins at all of our dining locations on campus.
Reusable Mug Program: We sell reusable bottles and mugs at many of our dining locations and offer discounted refills when customers use these, or their own, reusable mugs.
UofL Dining Services by Sodexo is committed to a Better Tomorrow. 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. 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. If you'd like to get more involved, check out the Fair Trade U of L campaign.
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. Sodexo's Flavours 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 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! Sodexo's Flavours Catering even offers a zero-waste reusable china service!
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!
UofL is Kentucky Proud! Our campus bookstores and The Nest convenience store in Louisville Hall feature 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!
UofL has food gardens on all three of our campuses! The largest is the Garden Commons at the Cultural Center on Belknap campus. Garden Commons is a community space open to all students, faculty, staff and community members for learning about organic urban agriculture, more sustainable food systems, and building resilient community. Learn more here.
Farmers markets show how to cook it up (Courier-Journal)
At 3rd St & Brandeis Ave in front of The Ville Grill
UofL launched a new weekly Farmers' Market on Belknap Campus in 2014! From May 29th to October 16th, the market offered farm-fresh local products, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, baked goods, honey, popcorn, canned goods, candy, crafts, bottled teas, non-toxic home & body care products, and more. The Office of Health Promotion & Get Healthy Now was also on hand to provide healthy local food samples and cooking demos.
- The Belknap Farmers' Market will return at the same location in May 2015.
- New for 2015: Debit cards, SNAP benefits, and Senior Vouchers will be accepted!
- Email comments/questions. Follow us on
- 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. every Thursday from May through October no matter what the weather. The 2014 market ran May 15th through October 30th and will return in May 2015.
- With many local vendors, you'll find the finest in farm-fresh local products, including prepared lunches and food trucks, fruits, vegetables, baked & canned goods, granola, popcorn, honey, maple syrup, and more.
- Located at UofL's Health Sciences Center on the 400 block of E. Gray Street, between Preston and Jackson streets. Directions.
- Easily accessible from Belknap Campus on TARC Route 18 (free with UofL ID) or via a pleasant 15 minute bike ride.
- Access our collection of delicious recipes for local products.
- Debit cards, SNAP benefits, and Senior Vouchers accepted!
- Watch Vendor Spotlights and recordings of our Monthly 20/20 Talks (a short seminar series on food and sustainability) on the Gray Street Farmers' Market 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
- Gray Street farmers' market adds outreach program to area's neediest residents
- Gray Street Farmers Market gives low-income seniors greater access to fresh food
- There are dozens of other farmers' markets all around town just about any day of the week, some year-round, others seasonal: Louisville Farmers Market Directory.
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 that 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:
- Grasshoppers Distribution (Louisville distributor for multiple area farms) offering weekly drop-offs at University Club parking lot on Thursdays 4-5pm beginning June 6, 2013. You need not be a weekly subscriber to place individual orders through Grasshoppers' highly flexible a la carte year-round system that provides weekly drop-offs of local produce, diary, eggs, cheeses, bread, sweets, pasta, beef, pork, poultry, specialty meats, condiments, soups, teas, and locally-roasted coffee. Contact: Lynn Greene email@example.com, 502-708-1881. No sign-up deadline. Order by Sunday to have items delivered to you on Thursday.
- Joe Trigg's Farmers2City Connection (F2CC) CSA (Glasgow, KY - Barren Co.) offering Thursday 4-5pm drop-offs at Lutz Hall circle May 30 - Sept. 12; Full-share $22/wk, Half-share $12.50/wk; Questions: Joe Trigg 270-303-1244, firstname.lastname@example.org. No sign-up deadline.
- Finger Picking Farms (Palmyra, IN) New for 2013; Offering 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, email@example.com. Sign-up by 6/1/13.
- EpiCurious, Hemmer Hill Farm (Crestwood, KY) New for 2013; Offering 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, firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign-up by 4/29/13.
- 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) louisville.edu.
- 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.