Being a conscious consumer can help one watch the waist and waste. The University of Iowa community strives to be good stewards - locally and globally. This means being aware of the environmental, economic and social implications surrounding our food choices and daily decision making.
Residential Dining - University Housing
Residential Dining believes in supporting local farmers and purchases their products as much as possible. Each Market Place provides wholesome, healthy and tasty selected locally grown food options to our students through the It's Only Natural program. In addition to serving a wide-variety of foods for those with differing dietary concerns, Residential Dining is continually exploring the availability of locally grown, seasonal and sustainable foods. To support local farmers and anti-cruelty initiatives, the Market Places purchase cage-free eggs from a local supplier. Learn more...
Nutrition—what’s on the menu?
All the food options available in the Marketplace can be tempting and overwhelming. How is it possible to stay within your daily calorie limit when faced with an assortment of desserts and comfort food? Residential Dining has composed several sample menus to prove that it is in fact possible to eat healthy in the Marketplace. Learn more...
In order to have a well-balanced meal it is essential to know the nutritional facts of the food you’re eating. The Department of Food and Nutritional Services has created a nutritional analysis of foods ranging from breakfast and lunch items to popular snack foods you’re likely to find in the C-store. Learn more...
Vegetarian menu options
The lower a product is on the food chain, such as vegetables, the easier it is to reproduce and that makes it a more sustainable choice. Residential Dining offers a variety of delicious menu options for vegetarians. Learn more...
Composting at UI
In 2007, the University of Iowa and the Iowa City Landfill Recycling Center began a pre-consumer food waste composting pilot project that has since grown into a University-funded program composting over 80 tons of food waste. The original study and pilot were initiated by a student research project for Prof. Jerry Schnoor's class, Engineering for a Sustainable World.
Each semester, about 12 tons of food waste from Hillcrest and Burge dining halls is composted with other organic waste at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. When the compost is ready, some is returned to campus as a soil amendment for the Student Garden and the rest is sold to the public as one component of Iowa City Community Compost.
In the 2010 spring semester, a second group of students from Dr. Schnoor's class is studying the possibility of including post-consumer food waste in the UI program. This addition could potentially divert another 350 tons of food waste from the landfill. Besides reducing waste the UI sends to the landfill, the inclusion of post-consumer waste will allow the City to offer the program to other businesses in Johnson County.
Iowa Memorial Union Dining
The Iowa Memorial Union dining services has made a special commitment to including local foods in dining and catering. In addition to including produce from the UIEC Student Garden in IMU menu offerings, the amount of local foods-within about a 500 mile radius-purchased for catering and dining has increased to around 52%, based on dollars spent.
Other IMU dining service sustainable actions of note:
- Features Fair Trade coffee exclusively.
- Converted to biodegradable take out containers and utensils.
- Catering service donates any leftover food to Table to Table, a local food recovery organization.