Food plays an important role in sustainability. At Marquette, we are able to address food’s role through our Dining Services programs. Sodexo heads up Dining Services on Marquette’s campus. Along with their corporate sustainability goals and initiatives, they have had a tremendous impact on sustainability initiatives here at Marquette.
Along with Sodexo, various other groups on campus are also actively engaged in food sustainability at Marquette. Such groups as Campus Kitchens and Students for an Environmentally Active Campus (SEAC). Below is a sampling of some of these groups’ initiatives.
Marquette’s first campus farmers’ market took place in fall 2010. It was a one-time event attracting over 500 attendees. Since then, the farmers’ market program has expanded to include three separate events spread over a six week period each fall. For each market, Sodexo works closely with their local farmers and partners to bring fresh produce for students, faculty and staff to purchase. In addition to the standard produce offerings, each market has offered a sort of side event which has included a regional chili cook-off and a smoked pork shoulder sandwich stand. The fall farmers’ markets have become widely popular and are heavily attended. Please share your ideas on how we can improve the campus farmers’ markets in the future.
In addition to the campus farmers’ market series, another farmers’ market, the Westown Market, operates on Wednesdays and is located approximately 10 blocks from campus. The Westown Market operates from the end of June till the end of October.
Find more farmers' markets throughout the Milwaukee area.
Marquette is home to a chapter of the Campus Kitchens Project.The Campus Kitchens Project is a student-run kitchen that helps keep food from going to waste, and turn it into nutritious meals for those who are struggling with food insecurity.
Instead of being wasted, the Campus Kitchens at Marquette chapter collects food from several areas on campus including individual donations and from Sodexo’s kitchens. They also grow some of their own food in the campus gardens.The Campus Kitchens at Marquette chapters delivers upwards of 500 meals per week to local partners.
The garden project was a student-led initiative that came to fruition in April 2012, and was a collaboration between SEAC, Campus Kitchens at Marquette, the College of Health Sciences and the Office of Sustainability. The project began as a pilot program with 12 raised beds to test its feasibility. Since then, additional raised beds have been added and we look to add more in the future.
The garden beds are currently being used by SEAC, the College of Health Sciences, Campus Kitchens at Marquette, and the Residence Hall Directors. A couple of professors from Health Sciences even included the gardens in their summer curriculum. One of the problems we face with expanding the program however, is that students are not generally on campus during the growing season, summer. If your group is present during the summer and is able to maintain the bed(s), we would be glad to look into adding more.
Sodexo does more than just provide food. They help reduce the university’s waste stream as well. Some of their initiatives include trayless dining in several residence halls, giving discounts to those who use reusable mugs in the Brew Cafés, using reusable china and dishware instead of disposable dishware, and incorporating pre-consumer composting in their operations.
Trayless dining was an initiative implemented to help reduce food waste, chemical use, and reduce water use. Trayless dining helps reduce food waste by deterring students from loading their trays with food they think they’ll eat, but never do. Since this food has been served, it cannot be reused in any way, and therefore must be disposed of. Trayless dining reduces chemical use and water use because those trays no longer need to be washed and sanitized. It is estimated that each tray requires half a gallon of water to wash. Multiply that by thousands, three times a day, and the annual savings become enormous.
The Brew Cafés are trying to cut down on their cup and sleeve waste by offering $0.25 discounts to people who bring their own mug.
Marquette began a pilot composting program with the Kompost Kids, Inc., at Straz Tower in 2011. In order to expand composting campus-wide, Marquette began partnering with Growing Power. Growing Power is able to utilize our pre-consumer food waste to create healthy soil. Pre-consumer food waste is collected from all residence hall dining locations, the Tory Hill Café, the Brew Cafés (coffee beans), and the AMU. You can find available statistics on the Recycling & Waste Reduction page.
Sodexo already utilizes several local and regional growers and distributors in their operations. However, not all of us utilize their meal plans. There are several grocery stores, Co-ops, farmers’ markets and other retail locations where you can purchase local, organic foods in the Milwaukee area. Beyond just purchasing more sustainable foods, there are organizations around Milwaukee that are always looking for volunteers to get their hands dirty.
Know of any sustainability-minded restaurants in the area? Please let us know.
If you would like us to add any additional information pertaining to dining services and food sustainability to this page, please don’t hesitate to send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.