We're committed to a food system that enhances personal well-being, local communities, and contributes to the long-term health of the environment.
Harvard is developing Sustainable and Healthful Food Standards and ensuring compliance with Green Restaurant Association. VIEW OUR PLAN
Harvard University Dining Services
Harvard University Dining Services has adopted purchasing and operational practices and menu choices that sustain the health and well-being of the environment, communities, and the people producing and eating food.
Sustainability at HUDS
- 32% of HUDS' food budget is spent on local goods. Menus are seasonal to take advantage of locally sourced ingredients.
- Working with the Center for Health and Global Environment HUDS' participates in a sustainable seafood program in dining halls.
- Depending on the season, 20% to 70% of produce in a dining hall is grown locally.
- HUDS purchases from approximately 250 local farms. View the map
- Beginning in Fall 2015, marinara sauce served in residential dining is made from locally-sourced, gleaned tomatoes, typically fruit that has dropped from the vine or is otherwise not resalable due to imperfections. Read the story
- Undergraduate dining halls are all 2- or 3-star Certified Green Restaurants®. Certification recognizes ongoing efforts to operate efficiently and source sustainable products.
- Educational outreach programs also discourage food waste in dining halls—as a result food waste in undergraduate dining halls has dropped 46% since Spring 2005.
Food Donation Program
In the Fall of 2014, Harvard University Dining Services launched an effort to address chronic hunger among its neighbors in Cambridge and Boston by partnering with the local nonprofit Food for Free to donate nearly 2,000 nutritious meals each week to families in need. The initiative builds on Harvard’s long commitment of community engagement, which includes extensive partnerships with local schools and creating and preserving affordable housing. Learn more
Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, both who contract with the food service vendor Restaurant Associates, also participate in food donation programs with Food For Free.
Community Food Resources
The annual Harvard Farmers' Market provides our community and neighbors with access to fresh, local food.
Tuesdays, 12-6 PM
The Plaza at the Science Center, Harvard University
Four community gardens have been established across Harvard’s campus, the result of a collaborative effort between students and staff. Together, the network of gardens serve to engage the community in growing healthy, organic food and herbs, and each garden represents the unique character of its host School.
The Countway Garden grows medicinal herbs and educates people about their use, the undergraduate-run Harvard Community Garden hosts weekly work parties for students, the Faculty Club Garden grows fresh herbs and vegetables for use in its meals, and the Harvard Divinity School Garden donates its harvest to Faith Kitchen, a local food kitchen.
- Harvard Community Garden, relocated to the Radcliffe Quad during Lowell House renewal, is managed by a team of undergraduate students.
- The Countway Community Garden, located outside the Countway Library, was created by a group of staff, students, and faculty from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School to provide the Longwood campus with opportunities for education, hands-on gardening experience, and research.
- The Harvard Divinity School Community Garden, located on the grounds of the Harvard Divinity School between the Women’s Studies in Religion Program and the Center for the Study of World Religion, serves the needs of the HDS community, broadly conceived, for local, organic food, while educating community members on the ethical issues, individual, communal, and global, that surround sustainable food production and consumption.
- The Harvard Faculty Club Garden was established by employees to provide fresh herbs and vegetables for use in the Club’s meals.
Gardening saves money, our food is more flavorful, and we’re slowly reducing our carbon footprint.
Harvard Faculty Club banquet chef Joseph Santos Santos
Food-related Centers, GROUPS, and Programs
- The Harvard School of Public Health’s Nutrition Source website provides timely, evidence-based information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The Healthy Eating Plate helps you create healthy and flavorful meals. Created by nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health in conjunction with Harvard Health Publications, The Healthy Eating Plate addresses key flaws in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate.
- The Food Literacy Project (FLP) at Harvard University Dining Services cultivates an understanding of food from the ground up. Education focuses on four integrated areas of food and society: agriculture, nutrition, food preparation and community. Ultimately, the project goal is to promote enduring knowledge, enabling consumers to make informed food choices. FLP strives to have Harvard students leave campus well-equipped to grocery shop knowledgeably, identify fruits and vegetables, master cooking basics, and lead a healthy & sustainable life. The project hosts cooking classes, educational tours, events and movie screenings, and blogs about students’ experiences.
- Crimson Crave is a student group and blog on campus providing, recipes, dining hall hacks, reviews, and Boston-area food information.
- The Center for Health and Global Environment’s Healthy and Sustainable Food program informs consumers and institutions about how our choices for diet and menus can promote healthier people, more secure food supplies, and thriving communities. The program aims to advance improvements in our food system by providing multiple industries with a common framework for creating a positive impact on human communities and the environment.
- The Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic is the oldest food law clinical program in the United States. It was established in 2010 to address growing concern about the health, environmental, and economic consequences of the laws and policies that structure the current U.S. food system. Harvard Law students get hands-on learning experience by conducting legal and policy research for individual and organizational clients working to increase access to healthy foods, prevent diet-related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, and assist small and sustainable farmers in breaking into new commercial markets.
Foodbetter Harvard invites the community to ask questions about the food system and how to improve it—how to grow better, eat better, shop better, conserve better. . .how to Foodbetter.
The Foodbetter Harvard Initiative was first organized in the 2014–2015 academic year to highlight the power of interdisciplinary knowledge and discovery taking place across the University's Schools, and explore the complex questions about food that challenge our region and the world.
Foodbetter focuses conversation on:
- Producing Sustainable, Nutritious Food
- Innovating in Food Distribution and Markets
- Improving Our Diet
- Reducing Food Waste
- Climate Change and the Food System
Foodbetter is a partnership of the Office of the Executive Vice President, Harvard University Dining Services and its' Food Literacy Project, the Harvard Office for Sustainability, and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic.