Food

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, some of which are outlined below. If you have any questions, ideas, or concerns, please contact our UofL Dining Sustainability Coordinator, Alana O'Bryan, obryan-alana (at) aramark.com.

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: Jericho Farmhouse, Piazza Produce, Prairie Farms Dairy, United Natural Foods, York Street Fresh Foods, Klosterman's Bakery, Clem's Refrigerated Foods, Sysco Louisville, Eiffel Pizza, and Creation Gardens.
    Date UofL Dining
    Local Food
    Direct Farm
    Impact
    All Campus Vendors
    Local Food
    Total Dining
    Local Purchases
    2021-22 24%
    ($2.1M)
    2.7%
    ($243k)
    28%
    ($2.6M)
    48%
    ($3.9M)
    2020-21 16%
    ($1.3M)
    0.08%
    ($6k)
    20%
    ($1.5M)
    55%
    ($4.3M)
    2019-20 (impacted by pandemic shutdown) 10%
    ($790k)
    3%
    ($222k)
    24%
    ($1.8M)
    36%
    ($2.7M)
    2018-19 39.3%
    ($1.1M)
    7.23%
    ($202k)
    30.25%
    ($1.8M)
    46.6%
    ($3.9M)
    2017-18 40.25%
    ($1.1M)
    8.55%
    ($232k)
    22.65%
    ($1.5M)
    46.7%
    ($5.1M)
    2016-17 29%
    ($904k)
    2.82%
    ($88k)
    34.2%
    ($1.8M)
    45%
    ($6.9M)
    Fall '16
    (Jul-Dec)
    32.0%
    ($396k)
    2.81%
    ($34.7k)
    29.3%
    ($646k)
    41.3%
    ($3.6M)
    Fall '15
    (Jul-Nov)
    31.2%
    ($383k)
    2014-15 28.9%
    ($841k)
    2013-14 27.5%
    ($844k)
    2012-13 24.7%
    ($665k)
    Definitions:
    - 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 (such as Cargill, Nestle, Tyson, Mondelez/Kraft, Kellogg, FritoLay, Conagra, General Mills, Pepsi, Armour-Eckrich), as well as food purchased by on-campus chain franchises.
    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 that was sourced from a food producer, processor, or distributor within 250 miles of campus. EXCLUDES sodas, ice, and large agribusiness products (Cargill, Nestle, Tyson, Mondelez/Kraft, 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 at businesses located within 250 miles of campus. Includes food and non-food purchases (supplies, construction, services, etc.). EXCLUDES sodas and large agribusiness products (Cargill, Nestle, Tyson, Mondelez/Kraft, Kellogg, FritoLay, Conagra, General Mills, Pepsi, Armour-Eckrich).
  2. Green Restaurant Certified LogoGreen Restaurant Certification: The Ville Grill earned 182.3 GreenPoints™ and is a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® under the Green Restaurant Association's rigorous standards, which require a minimum of 175 points for a 3-Star rating and 300 points for a top 4-Star rating. The Ville Grill racked up the following points in each category: Energy 29.61; Water 10.36; Waste 63.75; Food 41.73; Chemicals 14.26; Disposables 11.59; Building 0; Education 11. These are the GreenPoints™ earned in each environmental category. Click here to learn more about the GRA's environmetnal standards and the GreenPoints™ that each environmental step earns for a restaurant.
  3. 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 organic food service waste to a composting facility in southern Indiana. This includes compostable dining service items (straws, bowls, plates, wrappers, etc.) which we have steadily used to replace plastics wherever reusable items are not an option. Learn more here.
  4. Healthy and Vegetarian/Vegan Dining:
    - Explore your choices with our Vegetarian & Vegan Guide to UofL Dining!
    Emissiosns and Resource use per ton of protein (veg vs meats)
    Emissions by Protein Type (source = Harvard)- 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.
    PETA Vegan Report Card for UofL A+ Dean's List (2021)- 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!
    - UofL is proud to be on the "Dean's List," having received an A+ rating on PETA's Vegan Report Card!
    - Check out our Workshop on Plant-Based Diets!
  5. 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!
  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. UofL Dining is also a strong supporter of the efforts of student volunteers to capture and distribute leftovers through the UofL chapter of the Food Recovery Network, which was established in 2018.
  7. Trayless DiningTrayless, 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.
  8. Reusable To-Go Containers: In Fall 2023, UofL Dining brought back the reusable to-go option that was first piloted on campus in 2015-16 and 2018-19. For $5, anyone can buy into the program and they will receive a reusable OZZI to-go clam-shell container which they may use at The Ville Grill. Students who are part of the All-Access Plus dining plan get the service free. Patrons will simply return their container to The Ville Grill for washing and pick up a new one. Memberships in the program are available at The Ville Grill registers.
  9. Reusable Mug/Cup Program: Receive 10 cents off your next drink whenever you bring your own reusable mug or cup to the SAC Marketplace, Zoca in Louisville Hall, Lueberry in the SRC, or any P.O.D. location on campus! At our Starbucks locations, you'll not only get a 10-cent discount, but 25 bonus "stars" when you bring in a reusable Starbucks cup!
  10. Weigh The Waste (spring 2022)Food Waste Reduction: In addition to a comprehensive back-of-house system in our kitchens to weigh, document, and track the reasons for any excess/expired food disposal, we encourage our eaters to avoid throwing out food. This happens through both portion right-sizing and communication with servers, but also through our Weigh The Waste awareness-raising campaign held regularly at The Ville Grill. All guests are asked to scrape plates onto our scale and we track and share how the campus is doing in terms of food waste per person and have conversations with diners about what lead to the waste and how it can be avoided in the future.
  11. Recycled Napkins: We use napkins made of 100% recycled materials at all of our dining locations on campus.
  12. Waste Cooking Oil Recycling: In July 2019, UofL Dining by Aramark signed a new contract with FiltaFry which produces biodiesel from the oil, but also filters our oil to extend its life, and eliminates the need for our outdoor collection bins (and potential spills). (DAR PRO still collects the oil from Wendy's in the SAC due to a separate contract.) With the help of FiltaFry, we were able to increase our collection to 6,500 gallons in 2020 and 10,640 gallons in 2021 (view full report)!
  13. Zero Waste Orientation Meals: During in-person Summer Orientation sessions, all incoming students are exposed to and trained in zero waste dining. Special attention is paid to ensuring that all service items distributed are compostable or recyclable and that all waste is properly sorted at clearly-signed collection stations. During all twelve Summer Orientation 2022 sessions, for instance, there was 9090 pounds of waste produced, and we diverted 8528 pounds from the landfill (or 93.82%) through composting and recycling. At our most successful session in 2022, we achieved a landfill diversion rate of 95.27%.
  14. Louie's Greenhouse: a microfarm inside the Ville Grill in which over 40 different types of microgreens, herbs, lettuces and more are grown and harvested before your eyes for inclusion in tomorrow's menu!
    Patricia Nyalwal, graduate student in the College of Education and Human Development, harvests greens from Louie's greenhouse for sandwiches at the Ville Grille.Earth Day 2023: UofL ‘grows’ efforts to provide sustainable meals (UofL News, April 21, 2023)
    Louie's Greenhouse microfarm at UofL Ville Grill 11-17-22 (3).jpgUofL Dining expands its menu using a new tool bringing fresh food to campus (WDRB, Nov. 17, 2022)
    Women in a cafeteria in front of a small greenhouseBringing the greens: Ville Grill features new microfarm
    (UofL News, Oct. 12, 2022)

Food Recovery & Campus Pantry

Food Recovery Network logoIn 2018, UofL students organized a combined effort to address food insecurity and food waste on campus. In spring 2018, students piloted and then formally chartered a UofL chapter of the Food Recovery Network, a national student-led effort with 230 chapters aimed at combating hunger and food waste. Volunteers collect leftover food from campus dining and catering events and deliver it to the Cardinal Cupboard or local charities that work to feed the hungry. In Fall 2021, the group was able to recover a total of 1358 pounds of food! To help out, contact . If you've got left over food from any campus events, please post it using the Share Meals app.

Meanwhile, throughout 2018, students and staff began organizing to address the growing issue of food insecurity on campus. After considerable planning, a small, under-utilized space was secured on the third floor of the Student Activities Center (SAC) for a campus food pantry. Known as the Cardinal Cupboard, the pantry had a grand opening on January 31, 2019. In just its first month of operations, the pantry distributed over 700 pounds of free food to students and employees in need.
By Fall 2019 the Cardinal Cupboard partnered with Dare To Care to expand and relocated to an even larger space with refrigerator and freezer, SAC W314. In 2021, Commonwealth Credit Union stepped up with an amazing $1M gift to help the pantry double in size and capacity while funding student workers to maintain the operation. The pantry is stocked by donations and recovered food. It is staffed by paid student employees and volunteers. For any questions about access or donating to the Cardinal Cupboard, contact .

Cardinal Cupboard grand openingUofL and Commonwealth Credit Union Partner to Combat Food Insecurity (UofL Alumni News, April 2021)
After UK Protests, Students Say Food Insecurity Is Issue At UofL, Too (WFPL, 4/3/19)
Tuition or food? College pantries help reduce students' financial strains (Courier-Journal, February 7, 2019)
UofL students open on-campus pantry for students, staff and faculty (WDRB, Jan. 31, 2019)
Students opening on-campus food pantry to address food insecurity (UofL News, Jan. 16, 2019)
Cut costs with the Cardinal Cupboard
(The Louisville Cardinal, Jan. 16, 2019)

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.

Sustainable Catering

Ordering food for a campus event? Why not use the occasion to celebrate sustainability while highlighting delicious, fresh, seasonal foods from our region?

    • Ask your caterer to provide a DefaultVeg plant-based menu (with opt-in meat and dairy options if you feel it is necessary), or go all-in and order vegan catering.
    • Ask them to provide locally-sourced, seasonally-appropriate foods.
    • Ask them to offer organic and fair trade items.
    • Ask them to minimize waste by providing reusable dining ware, beverage dispensers rather than individually bottled or cans, and no Styrofoam.
    • Ask them to offer compost collection for food scraps, soiled paper products, or compostable dining ware.

    Many of these options 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. No matter who you hire, just remember to ask for local!...and as few disposable items as possible. No bottled water or Styrofoam, please!If you've got left over food from any campus events, please post it using the Share Meals app.

    Campus Organic Gardens

    You can help grow food right here on UofL's campuses! Our largest food garden is the Garden Commons at the southwest corner of Strickler Hall, 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 dirty...in 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 and demos, nutritional 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 resources for learning about food, nutrition & cooking, including the opportunity to request a program involving a Mobile Teaching Kitchen!
     Students learn how to cook an affordable, nutrient dense meal in the convenience of their own location! The Registered Dietitian comes to you with our mobile teaching kitchen to teach knife skills, food safety, and cooking technique! (Facilitated workshop ($): 2.5 hours; 8 students ideally)

    Concessions

    Centerplate, which provides food and beverage services at UofL athletic venues, has been an important partner in sustainability both in terms of sourcing local products and moving towards a zero waste strategy on game days. In 2019, UofL worked with Centerplate and our recycling and composting vendor to do an audit of every single food service item distributed at a home football game. Every item that was identified as neither recyclable or compostable was eliminated or replaced so that we could move toward zero waste game days. Compost collections were established throughout the Cardinal Stadium and these practices have spread throughout UofL Athletics venues.

    In 2016, Centerplate agreed to purchase at least $50,000 of Kentucky Proud products that year. Products included 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; proteins from Brooks Meats of Walton; and Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese of Barren County. The products are available at Uof L athletic events at the Cardinal Stadium, the KFC Yum! Center, Jim Patterson Baseball Stadium and the University of Louisville Golf Club.

    Kentucky Proud Products

    Kentucky Proud UofLUofL is Kentucky Proud! In addition to our concessionaire Centerplate's Kentucky Proud purchases, our UofL Dining provider, Aramark, tracks its Kentucky Proud purchases each month and reports the following expenditures on Kentucky Proud products for UofL Dining controllable food purchases (excludes on-campus franchises):

      • 2021-22: 0.33% ($30k)
      • 2020-21: 0.06% ($4.5k)
      • 2019-20: 1.43% ($108k)
      • 2018-19: 5.86% ($163k)
      • 2017-18: 4.71% ($128k)

      History: Beginning in 2010, the university made a push to make Kentucky Proud products available not only in our dining halls and farmers' markets, but in our campus stores, as well. On April 6, 2010, former UofL President James Ramsey, Kentucky Commissioner for Agriculture Richie Farmer, student leaders and other university officials cut the ribbon on a new Kentucky Proud store in the former bookstore at Swain Student Activities Center. The Nest, a former convenience store in Louisville Hall, also featured Kentucky Proud products made right here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

      UofL Farmers' Markets

      Gray Street Farmers' Market

      Thursdays, June 1 - October 26, 10:30am‒1:30pm
      New location for 2023, across Jackson Street from UofL's School of Public Health & Information Sciences
      634 S Jackson St, at the NE corner of Jackson & Gray.
      Directions.

        • Gray Street Farmers MarketThe 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) June through October.
        • With many unique local vendors, you'll find the finest in farm-fresh local products, including locally grown produce, coffee, desserts, crafts, and more, plus a rotating group of lunch vendors and food trucks.
        • Cash, debit cards, SNAP benefits, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Vouchers accepted!
        • The primary goal of the Gray Street Farmers Market is to increase access to fresh, locally grown food in the downtown area. Not only do we provide a pop-up weekly fresh food market, but we operate several special programs to expand access and make nutritious food more affordable. For more information on any of these programs, stop by our information booth or email farmersmarket@lousiville.edu:

          • Kentucky Double Dollars – This program makes healthy food more affordable for individuals who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Using the SNAP Double Dollars is simple. Customers visit the GSFM information booth, decide how much they want to spend, and swipe their SNAP cards. The market then matches this amount and gives them wooden tokens to spend directly with GSFM vendors. We match spending by the SNAP customer up to $12 per week. Households can use the tokens to purchase fruits and vegetables.
          • FreshRx  -- The Gray Street Farmers Market began offering the FreshRx program in 2023 in partnership with the Community Farm Alliance. The program serves expectant moms who receive Medicaid. After signing up, FreshRx participants get $26 in tokens each week to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from GSFM vendors.
          • Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SrFMNP) -- Seniors (60+) who qualify are provided with $50 loaded onto a debit card to purchase fresh, unprocessed, locally grown fruits, honey, vegetables and herbs at approved farmers markets. Individuals can sign up for these benefits at Louisville's Neighborhood Places, the L&N Building on Broadway, and at the Nulu/Phoenix Hill Farmers Market. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture serves as the lead agency for SrFMNP.
        • Join our listserv and receive our weekly newsletter by sending an email to listserv@listserv.louisville.edu with the message “SUBSCRIBE GSFM (First_Name Last_Name)”.
        • The market is operated by UofL's School of Public Health and Information Sciences in partnership as of 2023 with Catholic Charities’ Common Earth Gardens, allowing the market to relocate their 435 Building Parking Lot at Gray & Jackson (entrance on Jackson).
        • Contact the market manager. Full details here, or follow on Facebook and Twitter.
        • 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!
        • Easily accessible from Belknap Campus on TARC Route 28 (free with UofL ID) or via a pleasant 15 minute bike ride.

        UofL’s Gray Street Farmers Market created to fight a food desert (UofL News, August 5, 2019)
        Gray Street Farmers Market launches crowdfunding campaign to benefit SNAP recipients(UofL News, May 17, 2018)
        Gray 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

        Belknap Farmers Market LogoBelknap Farmers Market

        After many years as a weekly market throughout the growing season from 2014-18, in 2019 the Belknap Farmers Market switched to offering Spring Markets in April, a Fall Market in September, and continuing the tradition of a one-day Holiday Bazaar in November. Sadly, the Belknap Campus Farmers' Market was a victim of the pandemic in 2020 and was not able to return in April 2020, as planned. We hope to restart it in some form eventually. You can follow us on Facebook in order to stay abreast of future markets. But don't let this prevent you from eating and growing local! You can still sign up for weekly produce/meat deliveries and you can order seeds, plants, berries, fruit trees, compost, and more for your garden through our vendors:

          • Louisville Grows Seeds and Starts Sale offers Belknap Farmers Market April 2019veggies, fruits, flowers, and more to help you get your garden growing!
          • Barr Farms is taking subscriptions for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) local food delivery service. Follow the link to learn how you can enjoy a weekly (or biweekly) delivery of fresh, local, sustainably-grown produce from May through October! They also offer a meat CSA option.

          UofL Dining also continues to organize the popular annual UofL Holiday Bazaar each year in late November. This one-day Holiday Bazaar features over a dozen different local artisans, crafters, makers, farmers, and food producers coming together in one location for holiday shopping, local style! You'll find unique holiday gifts such as canned & baked goods, holiday decorations & gifts, soaps & balms, crafts, jewelry, stoneware, pottery, UofL apparel and accessories, and more! There are door prizes and lunch available for purchase.

          Other Local Farmers Markets
          There are dozens of other farmers' markets all around town just about any day of the week, some year-round, others seasonal...as well as Fresh Stops bringing the CSA model to people on a budget and those in under-served neighborhoods. Find local food near you:

          Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program

          Vegetables and produce from Barr Farms CSAs near meUofL encourages students, faculty, and staff to invest in local family farms by subscribing in advance to a share of the harvest through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. From 2016-21, UofL hosted a CSA pick-up at the Health Sciences Center for those seeking to invest directly in a local, chemical-free, seventh generation family farm. Now we encourage local eaters to subscribe to a pick-up location close to their home. Learn more about subscribing to the Barr Farms organic CSA and sign-up here. You'll enjoy a weekly (or biweekly) delivery of fresh, local, USDA organic certified produce from May through October! They also offer a meat CSA option

            • CSA Pick-up Locations at UofL are suspended for 2022, but used to be Tuesdays 2-5pm:
              Health Sciences Center: School of Public Health;
              Belknap: Typically: Health Promotion, SAC room 309, but relocated during 2020 pandemic to 1063 E Kentucky St. (contact: , 502-852-5429)
            • Barr Farms CSACosts:
              Small Share (5-6 items per delivery): $21/week
              Regular Share (7-10 items per delivery): $28/week
              Abundant Share (11-14 items per delivery): $36/week
            • Customize your CSA box based on the veggies you love and hate.
            • Choose the size and frequency that's right for you: small, regular or abundant, weekly or biweekly for each size.
            • Multiple delivery locations, including home delivery. Find a location close to your home or work, or ask us to set up a new one.
            • Flexible scheduling: put a vacation hold on your box, or change delivery locations for a week or two
            • Full Details & Sign-ups here

            For The Record

            History of the Belknap Farmers’ MarketBelknap Farmers Market Logo

            UofL launched a weekly Farmers' Market on Belknap Campus in May 2014. In its first three years, the market ran on Thursday afternoons from May to October on Brandeis Ave. in front of The Ville Grill. The market offered a wide variety of 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 participated to provide healthy local food samples, cooking demos, and healthy-living tips. Unfortunately, the market struggled to sustain a steady customer base throughout the summer months.

            After a year off to regroup, the market returned at a new time and place in 2018: Wednesdays, 11am-2pm, Red Barn. We experimented with skipping the hot summer months when it had been difficult in past years to sustain a market without a consistent population on campus, by holding a one-month Spring Market (April 2018) and then a Fall Market (Aug. 15 - Oct. 24, 2018). While the Spring Market went well, we had to cancel the planned Fall Market due to an insufficient number of vendors willing to attend. At the Spring Market, shoppers were encouraged to stop Belknap Farmers Market 2014by for farm-fresh local products, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, breads, honey, popcorn, jams, pickles, reusable items, clothing, linens, pottery, plants to start your garden, and more. Some farms were also on-hand to accept sign-ups for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions with weekly pickups on campus throughout the summer.

            For the time being it seems as though the Belknap Farmers Market is most successful as a one-day Spring Market in April and a one-day Holiday Bazaar in November. You can email us comments/questions and follow us on Facebook in order to stay abreast of future markets.

            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

            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. The Belknap CSA Program relaunched in spring 2018 before being put under again by the pandemic in 2020, when the pickup site was relocated from the Health Promotion Office in the SAC to the home of a staff member. Here's some of the history:

              • 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 now closed, 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.
              • 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, joetrigg@yahoo.com.
              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, treeclimb08@yahoo.com.
              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, joyce@hemmerhillfarm.com.
              • Each year UofL invited students, staff, faculty, and the public to directly support local farmers through our CSA program.
              • 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.
              • Connect with other subscribers and find more information at the UofL CSA Facebook Page.
              • The program helps support our local economy, promotes healthy eating, and reduces the environmental impact of transporting, processing, and packaging food from far away.

              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. UofL Biodiesel ProgramWaste 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 FiltaFry which recycled 6,500 gallons for us in 2020.