Reducing Our Food Footprint

We’re committed to sustainable practices, and partner with our students to develop initiatives that reduce the environmental impact of the food we eat on campus. Students meet with dining staff every month to discuss improvements, everything from food quality to recipes, sourcing of ingredients and composting.

Exonians bring some of the best ideas to dining, including our food composting efforts and Zero Waste initiative, which have resulted in significant reductions in food and compostable packaging waste. The recently launched Exeter Dining Halls app – developed by students and available on the App Store – lets diners give us real-time feedback on meals.

Whenever Possible, We Buy Local

We source over 25% of our food from within 250 miles of campus, and grow some of our herbs right on campus.

Our bakers start early each day making bread and pastries from scratch with King Arthur flours, 100% butter, locally produced cream, and cage-free, antibiotic-free, organic eggs from local farms. We serve organic Rainforest Alliance coffee from Rao’s Coffee in Massachusetts.

We partner with two nearby seafood providers for fresh, locally caught fish: Boston-based Red’s Best which distributes underutilized species, and The Gulf of Maine Research Institute, known for responsible fish harvesting practices.

Seasonally, our apples come from local orchards.

Responsible Purchasing and Waste Reduction

Over the last several years, we have sought to reduce dining hall waste overall, and to ensure that more of our waste can be composted or redeployed. We’re continually on the lookout for ways to further reduce our food footprint. Current initiatives include:

  • Trayless dining hall eating, which has reduced food waste by 25-30%
  • Composting all of our food waste, and using the compost to enhance garden soil.
  • Recycling all of our cardboard, metal cans, glass bottles and plastic containers
  • Purchasing only biodegradable disposable containers and napkins made from 100% recycled fiber
  • Converting fryer oil to biodiesel
  • Using safe cleaning products – 95% of the products we use are Green Seal certified or DFE EPA (Design For the Environment by the Environmental Protection Agency) certified

Healthy and Enjoyable Eating

Our menus provide great variety and flavor, with a focus on healthy eating.

Go to the page titled Healthy and Enjoyable Eating

Sustainability at Exeter

You’ll see it in the dining hall, our building construction, the classroom and more.

Go to the page titled Sustainability at Exeter