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Food & Dining
GW is committed to encouraging sustainable food operations.
GW has several initiatives that focus on the sustainability of our food and dining initiatives. By partnering with student groups, our campus food provider Sodexo, and interested food stakeholders on campus, we seek to increase the sustainability of our food offerings on campus. For more information about our food initiatives please visit the resources below.
The GroW Garden is a collaborative project that brings together students, faculty, staff and the community to engage in growing food in an urban environment. The garden was the 2011 recipient of a Nature's Path Gardens for Good grant, and the award is being used to expand and enhance GW's garden. A majority of the produce from the garden is donated to Miriam's Kitchen, a local soup kitchen in the area. The GroW Community (more information below) has been instrumental in seeing this project take form. Watch the garden unfold in this video.
As of summer 2014, the GroW Garden will be contributing to the Freshfarm Markets Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program. This program gives community members the opportunity to purchase a share of produce that can be picked up at any of the three farmers market locations. For more information and to sign up for a share, visit the CSA website.
The GroW Garden now accepts vegetable food scraps to make compost for use in the garden, and to get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GroW Community is a group of students at the George Washington University closely connected with faculty, staff, and university departments as well as members of the Foggy Bottom community. They promote healthy, local, organic food and a just, sustainable food system through education and direct action in the George Washington and Foggy Bottom communities.
The Urban Food Task Force is an initiative of George Washington faculty, students, staff, and volunteers who share an interest in healthy eating, sustainable food production, and food policy. Its mission is to identify and recommend ways in which the university might further support scholarship and instruction on sustainable urban food policies and related issues; provide practical information on, and training in, healthy eating and food preparation to interested students and the greater GW community; and offer healthy and sustainable food choices to students, faculty and staff.
Meatless Mondays take place in J Street and Pelham Commons. Vegetarian meals are highlighted and students are educated about the benefits of going meatless. Animal agriculture has been implicated by the United Nations as one of the top contributors to global environmental problems, due to its vast use of water, land, and fossil fuels, and high carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Prominent environmental organizations have advocated for reduced meat consumption. According to Environmental Defense Fund, “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains…the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Meatless Mondays at GW is a partnership between Sodexo, Campus Support Services and the Office of Sustainability.
The Real Food Challenge (RFC) is a national, student-led initiative that is geared towards providing healthy, sustainably harvested, local/community-based, and fair-trade foods to students in colleges and universities throughout the United States. In April 2014, GW signed the Real Food Challenge Commitment, agreeing to work towards procuring 20% of Real Food by 2020.
The Food Working Group works to implement sustainability projects in Sodexo run facilities and on campus more broadly. To date, the group has been instrumental in bringing biodegradable plate ware to J Street and to Pelham Commons as well as increasing signage about these products. Other focus areas include increasing local food options, and expanding composting options.
George Washington University has two main food courts – one on Foggy Bottom (J-Street Cafeteria) and one on the Mount Vernon Campus (Pelham Commons). Pelham Commons has both a front-of-house (students) and back-of-house (kitchen staff) food waste diversion program in effect. All food scraps, compostable utensils, and used napkins are diverted from the waste stream for collection and taken to Maryland Environmental Services (MES) by our hauler to be composted. At the J-Street Cafeteria, we a have back-of-house food waste collection program in effect. All kitchen scraps are disposed of in a 15-CY compactor for collection by our vendor, ESI. All food scraps are disposed of in compostable liners and are brought to MES as well. The Zero Waste Team eventually plans to implement a front-of-house food diversion program at J Street. This will involve construction of the same type of built-in cabinetry as currently exists in Pelham Commons to capture food waste, recyclables and trash in an easily identifiable process. In August of 2015, the Zero Waste Team will begin working with Tonic and Carvings at the Foggy Bottom Campus to begin diverting back-of-house food waste and kitchen scraps from their restaurants respectively.
Housed on GW’s campus from April – November, the Fresh Farms Foggy Bottom Market provides the GW and Foggy Bottom community with fresh produce from local farms. The market now accepts GWorld.
The GroW Garden contributes to the Freshfarm Markets Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program. This program gives community members the opportunity to purchase a share of produce that can be picked up at any of the three farmers market locations. For more information and to sign up for a share, visit the CSA website.
Watch Meghan Chapple discuss sustainability iniatives taken by GWU in terms of food & dining. "Fresh Insight" is Food Policy's flagship video series, which combines expert interviews with footage from the field to examine the most fundamental aspects of our food system. The goal in showcasing stakeholders from across sectors – holding farmers and chefs on equal ground with manufacturers, policymakers, and academics – is to convey a more holistic understanding of the issues at hand. Check out all the other videos as well.
Take a look at GW Campus Dining's guide that highlights what they have moved towards as their sustainable standards for all catering, as well as organic food options they now offer through this separate guide.