Food & Dining

Supporting a healthy, local food system

Sustainably grown food supports environmental health, worker welfare and wages and farm viability as well as taste and nutrition. Emory University and Emory Healthcare build and maintain relationships with local and sustainable farmers and producers that contribute to the revitalization of healthy food systems.

So Far

  • Emory’s Sustainable Food Committee drafted and adopted the Sustainability Guidelines for Food Purchasing in fall 2007, and provide clear goals and implementation steps for 10 categories of food. They have been revised multiple times as new research is produced, and the current version was adopted in 2016.
  • Emory Dining serves plentiful, plant-based options daily to reduce the carbon footprint of served meals and to provide meal options for all diet preferences and restrictions. Around 40 percent of the food served in Emory Dining locations is sourced locally and/or sustainably.
  • Emory Dining collaborates with Emory Food Chain, a student group, to reduce food waste by recovering unused food from events and dining facilities and donating it to local food banks.
  • The Emory Farmers Market provides a weekly place to educate about the principles of local, sustainable food production by connecting the Emory community with the local farmers and small business owners who grow and make their food.
  • The Oxford Organic Farm at Emory, one of the top 30 sustainable college-run farms in the nation, cultivates produce for Emory Dining, the Emory Farmers Market and a community-supported agriculture produce subscription program while providing a hands-on educational experience for students across disciplines.
  • The Emory Educational Garden Project provides gardening plots for students, faculty and staff to learn organic growing techniques, to provide access to local produce, and to build community around food production.
  • Emory University signed an MOU with The Conservation Fund’s Working Farms Fund to break down barriers and support next-generation farmers across metro Atlanta while boosting the supply of fresh, local, sustainably grown food for Emory’s campus and hospital communities. The Working Farms Fund will purchase farmland within a 100-mile radius of metro Atlanta, place conservation easements on it to permanently protect it from development and harmful environmental practices, and lease the land to farmers with a 5- or 10-year path to ownership, selling it to them at a much lower price at the end of their lease. Read more about this partnership here.

Emory measures its support of sustainable food systems through purchases of items and ingredients that are locally sourced, sustainably certified, and locally crafted. Emory’s goals are for 75% of the food purchased by the University and 25% of food purchased by Healthcare to be locally or sustainably grown by 2025.

Today

40.6%

of food served in Emory dining halls is sourced locally or sustainably

$370,000+

dollars from student meal plans spent at the Farmers Market since Fall 2015.

Tomorrow

Emory’s Sustainability Vision & Strategic Plan commits Emory to:

  • Expand sustainable food purchases in Emory Dining to 75 percent by 2025.
  • Support the Oxford Organic Farm to provide 50 percent of produce needed on the Oxford campus and 5 percent of produce needed on the Atlanta campus by 2020.
  • Expand sustainable and local food purchases in catered events.
  • Expand sustainable and local food purchases in Emory Healthcare to 25 percent and establish tracking system to document future gains.

Building a Sustainable Food Future at Emory

From dining halls, classrooms, and patient rooms, to hospital cafeterias and the Oxford College organic farm, Emory University and Emory Healthcare foster a healthy, local food system that is values-based, relationship-focused, and economically-regenerative. Emory faculty, staff, students, and patients are served nutritious and sustainably-sourced food that nourishes them, while also nourishing a Southeast regional agricultural economy. The Sustainable Food Committee supports transparency in sustainable and local food purchases and has created the weekly campus farmers market; educational garden project; and annual, student-led sustainable food fair. Innovative teaching across units and educational programming for the Atlanta community highlight ethical decisions for individuals as well as institutions. Through the work of the committee, Emory University and Emory Healthcare contribute to more just, seasonal, local, and nutritious food system for all.