At JMU Dining, we consistently strive to become more sustainable and efficient in our everyday operations. Our team consists of a sustainability coordinator and interns. Together, our goals are to increase sustainable food purchasing, to educate and empower the University and local communities, and to reduce our environmental footprint. In addition, we offer expertise and practical solutions to campus partners.
We strive to develop and implement long-term environmental stewardship programs and policies within the areas of sustainable food, responsible procurement, green buildings, energy and water conservation, transportation, and waste stream management. These programs and policies are called Green Thread as they weave throughout the business operations.
What’s Happening Now
We are competing in the Food Organics category of RecycleMania until March 28th! We receive points through many different initiatives and activities that we execute on campus.
- Food Donated to People
- Food that can be donated is received by Campus Kitchen. During the fall semester of 2019, we donated over 2,400 lbs. to Campus Kitchen.
- Food Fed to Animals
- We send our fryer oil to a facility that converts 80% of it into animal feed.
- Food made into Biofuel
- The other 20% of our fryer oil gets converted into Biofuel. In 2019, we sent over 33,500 lbs. to be converted.
- Food Composted
- We compost all of our back of house food waste across campus, as well as all post-consumer waste in D-Hall and E-Hall.
- Waste Minimization Activities
- Trayless Dining
- Both D-Hall and E-Hall
- Reusable To-Go Containers
- Used in 7 locations on campus
- Back of house waste measurement system
- We use Lean Path in every location
- Front of house food awareness campaign
- We do Weigh the Waste events in D-Hall and E-Hall
- Trayless Dining
JMU Dining Services cares about more than only what you eat - we care about where it’s sourced.
We are a proud partner of the Local Food Hub in Charlottesville, VA and Produce Source Partners in Richmond, VA, who works with local farmers to provide support services, infrastructure and market opportunities - enabling producers to provide locally sourced food to organizations. JMU Dining is then able to provide the JMU campus with local products sourced within 150 miles or the state of Virginia. While the list of farmers and producers rotates throughout the year depending on seasonality and availability, here are some of the partners we work with:
- Saunders Brothers
- Morris Orchard
- Caromont Farm
- Mountain View Farm
- Seven Hills Food
- Virginia Vinegar Works
- Shenandoah Valley Organic
- Carpe Donut
- Blue Ridge Bucha
- Twin Oaks Tofu
- Woodson’s Mill
- Falling Bark Farm
- Mr. J’s Bagels
- NoBull Burger
- Papa Weaver’s Pork
- Walnut Winds Farm
- Schuyler Greens
- Ula Tortilla
We are committed to identifying and implementing a long-term solution for organic waste at JMU.
We currently compost all pre-consumer waste in dining locations, and all pre and post-consumer waste is composted in residential dining halls. In the residential dining locations, food scraps are broken down by a pulper and placed into a composting compactor for pick-up.
JMU Dining aligns with the University on recycling efforts. In addition to recycling with the University, Dining also recycles 100% of used fryer oil in conjunction with Quest Recycling, who diverts the oil into biodiesel or animal feed.
Waste Reduction through Lean Path:
JMU Dining participates in Lean Path - leveraging cutting-edge technology, powerful data science, and a proven Culinary Team Empowerment Program, to help our organization understand exactly how and why food is being wasted, then take decisive action to achieve real, measurable results. Through Lean Path's automated system, we strive to prevent food waste by understanding where inefficiencies occur and how we can eliminate over-preparing food.
JMU Dining Services follows a similar approach in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Food Recovery Hierarchy, with source reduction being the first step to managing a waste stream. Once all unnecessary waste is eliminated, we determine another purpose or reuse the material. If we can no longer use it, we work with an on-campus student organization, Campus Kitchen, who takes reusable, leftover food that would otherwise be wasted and re purposes it.The students repackage the food and deliver it to Harrisonburg Second Home or the Graduate Student Center. In 2017 Campus Kitchen donated 617 pounds of food. In the 2018-2019 school year we donated 1800 pounds of food.
Fueled is a collaborative, student initiated comprised of a food truck operated by JMU Dining in conjunction with a cross-disciplinary course offered by James Madison University.
It was designed to promote health, sustainability, and education through outreach activities. Fueled strives to bring locally-sourced foods to JMU, while stimulating businesses in the surrounding community. Cross-disciplinary student teams function within the JMU X-Labs as a University course - working together on innovative projects directly applicable to the business needs of the Fueled food truck and community. The course’s influence on campus and in the surrounding community provides the framework for a model to be shared nationally with other universities.
Creative development and implementation of team concepts focus on key topics including:
- Sustainable agriculture
- Holistic living
- Industrial and environmental design
- Nutrition/health promotion
- Mind-body awareness
- Graphic design
- Campus/K-12 education
- Community engagement
Farmers Markets are organized and hosted by dining services, allowing students to use Dining and Flex in addition to cash and credit.
- Our Sustainability Team works with local vendors to encourage awareness and education on the importance of supporting the local economy and food system, while engging with the community.
- Our market is held from Sept. through October in the fall and after Spring Break through the end of the semester in the spring.
JMU Dining Services understands the importance of vegan and vegetarian dining.
All residential, retail and Grab-n-Go locations have vegan and vegetarian options available at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and always contain complete-proteins. Our Grab-n-Go programs - Fresh Takes and York Street Market - are dedicated to healthy and plant-based meals on-the-go and feature items such as vegetarian and vegan sandwiches and wraps. Additionally, we prioritize events at dining locations that continue to educate and provide unique vegetarian and vegan options.
- Plant Foward
- In partnership with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) JMU Dining hosted a plant-based culinary training as part of its ongoing efforts to develop strategies that increase plant-based food offerings for consumers. Currently, as part of its Healthy for Life 20 By 20 commitment with the American Heart Association, 30 percent of the main dishes we serve across locations are vegan or vegetarian, and 10 percent feature whole grains as their main ingredient.
Reusable Bottle Incentive and Container Program
JMU Dining Services offers reusable containers and incentives for using reusable beverage containers in place of single-use, disposable cups and bottles.
- Reusable beverage containers are accepted in all dining locations on campus, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. As an incentive, a 25 cent discount is offered on beverages purchased with a reusable beverage container.
- Starbucks offers 25 cents off any beverage and a same day refill on brewed coffee for just fifty cents with your receipt.
- Reusable food containers are available for purchase and use at Bistro 1908, Market 64, Festival Food Court, Corner Bistro, Fueled, Nacho Papi’s, and JM’s Food Court (D-Hub).
- Additionally, through a partnership with Cupanion, JMU Dining Services has implemented a program that uses a sticker with a bar code and a mobile application to provide rewards for using a reusable beverage container. A Cupanion sticker is available for anyone to place on their reusable beverage container, and can be picked up at the cash registers at retail locations. Users can scan the barcode on their sticker after each reuse, including purchasing beverages or filling up at water refill stations on campus. Each time the sticker is scanned, a cup of clean water is donated to WaterAid and users accumulate points which can be redeemed on items such as coffee. So far we’ve eliminated over 10,000 single-use bottles from the landfill through the Cupanion program.
Our commitment to JMU is to integrate local and sustainable offerings in the dining facilities.
The Sustainability Team puts on Local Taste Cart events in which we offer potential local menu or retail items for students to test. We seek out third-party certified options, including but not limited to:
MSC Certified Seafood
Cage-Free shell Eggs
100% Grass-fed beef
Fair Trade Certified
Organic products/ produce
Certified American Humane Certified
Madison Garden was first constructed in 2013 in partnership with Facilities Management, JMU Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability.
This student-run garden acts as an educational opportunity for students to work in the garden and engage through hands-on learning. Hannah Smith through the Fueled project-based class revived Madison Garden in 2017 where it is now managed by a student-run, agricultural club called JMGrew in collaboration with the Fueled Food Truck. In 2018, through a grant in collaboration with JMU X-labs, FarmBot was added to Madison Garden
Education & Outreach
The Sustainability Team regularly engages in the local and JMU community in order to further educate individuals.
Educational opportunities are the primary way our team engages with the University to create sustainable change. Through our various events, tablings, tours, collaborations and hands-on activities, we raise awareness and empower students toward a more sustainable lifestyle.
Below is a sampling of outreach and education activities conducted by JMU Dining:
- Tabling and Information Sessions
- Campus Organization Collaboration
- Guided Dining Hall Tours
- Student Outreach
- Curriculum Support
- Indoor Growing Towers
- Theme Meals
- Fueled Course
- Madison Garden
- Health and Wellness Partnership
- Community Support
- Harrisonburg VA Green Committee.
- Cross-Institutional Collaboration
Our commitment to sustainability includes both our food and our facilities. Whenever possible we choose third-party verified options and seek green building certifications, included but not limited to:
- Virginia Green: We are proud participants of the Virginia Green campaign. Virginia Green is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s campaign to promote environmentally-friendly practices in all aspects of Virginia’s tourism industry. Our Sustainability Manager is on the steering committee for all of Harrisonburg and the committee is committed to improving green tourism through community efforts.
- JMU has 11 locations VA Green Certified and received the 2018 Green Dining Services of the Year Award.
- MSC: JMU Dining has maintained the Chain of Custody certification under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) since 2014. This indicates that traceable are identified and recorded and certified products are segregated. This standard is upheld throughout the supply chain from fishery to final sale. JMU serves sustainably-sourced cod and pollock in its dining locations.
- Green Restaurant: East Campus Dining Hall exceeds environmental sustainability criteria in six categories - successfully accomplishing waste minimization, responsible sourcing, and efficient operations in order to gain this recognition
Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition
JMU Dining Services Sustainability Manager is a member of the Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition.
The mission of the Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition is to harness the intellectual, human and economic capital of colleges and universities to foster the emerging local food economy in Virginia. JMU is joined by 4-VA partner universities George Mason University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech
For more information on JMU's commitment to the environment, please contact us:
JMU Dining Services
Ben joined JMU Dining to help promote and advance our sustainability initiatives on campus. He cares greatly about this campus and how it is treated. His primary focus is on reducing our environmental footprint, sourcing food locally, as well as to educate and empower both the University and local community on the importance of these actions. As a recent graduate of JMU, he holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing.