Sustainability at Duke


Duke has a strong reputation for high quality dining services, which includes a commitment to sustainability. Many campus eateries strive to incorporate local and organic ingredients and all campus eateries offer vegetarian options.  The Performance Assessment for Culinary Excellence (PACE) rating system developed by Duke Dining Services rewards eateries for environmentally-preferable characteristics.

Green Dining Award

Each year since 2010, students in Sustainable Duke’s Students for Sustainable Living program have selected winning eateries to be recognized with a Green Dining Award at Duke.  Learn more about the Green Dining Award and view recent winners.

Bon Appetit

Duke's main food provider, Bon Appetit, is a leader in sustainability and currently purchases 25 percent local and organic food at Duke.  Their "Circle of Responsibility" program provides educational signage for consumers in the eateries on campus about the environmental, community and health impacts of different food choices.  An estimated 90 percent of pre-consumer and post-consumer waste is composted in Bon Appetit facilities at Duke.

Reusable Containers

Duke also strives to reduce waste generated from dining facilities.  Reusable mugs are sold in all retail locations with coffee drinks on Duke's campus. Discounts from $0.20 to $0.35 are offered for using these mugs, depending on size.  Additionally, through support from the Green Grant Fund, an eco-friendly to-go container program was created in The Great Hall, The Loop, and The Refectory Cafe at Duke Divinity.

Growing Food on Campus

Farm WorkdayThere are several community gardens at Duke, as well as the Duke Campus Farm, at which members of the Duke community are growing their own healthy and sustainable food.  The student-run Duke Community Garden is located on Central Campus, next to the Smart Home.  The Mosaic Community Garden is located at the Center for Documentary Studies, near East Campus.

Supporting Local Farmers

Duke offers many options for supporting local farmers as part of your grocery shopping.  Download this pocket guide to seasonal produce and local farmers' markets in North Carolina.  In the spring and summer, there is a weekly Duke Farmers' Market on campus with vendors offering local North Carolina produce, organized by Live for Life.  Instructions for walking to the market from campus locations can be found here.  The Duke Mobile Market is a form of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) with year-round local and organic produce, meats, and flowers from area farms.  Initiated by a group of graduate students at Duke, Walking Fish is a community supported fishery (CSF) that links fishermen on the coast of North Carolina to consumers at Duke and in the Triangle.  The City of Durham also offers a weekly farmers' market featuring pesticide-free produce, meats, baked goods, cheeses, arts and crafts, and more.

Additional Resources

Through support of the Green Grant Fund, graduate student Greg Andeck spent the 2004-05 academic year working with campus food vendors and dining services to identify and implement best environmental practices.  His work culminated in an inventory of the environmental impacts of Duke's eateries.

Additionally, graduate student Meg Giuliano compiled a report on Duke's local food system and how to best incentivize eateries towards more sustainable food purchasing as part of her Master's Project in 2010.  Meg conducted interviews with individuals involved in the local food system, including farmers, food distributors, eatery managers, and students. Meg's final recommendations for Duke include: improved food procurement data tracking; building a culture of environmental awareness and concern surrounding sustainable and local food issues, focusing on the student body at Duke; and encouraging leadership at Duke to make an institutional commitment to sustainable food procurement.