We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations. 

Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious:

Certified Green Restaurant

Each of our campus dining halls have been evaluated by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) and have been awarded 3 stars for our sustainability initiatives on campus! The GRA is a non-profit who has been evaluating and certifying restaurants for over 30 years and is considered one of the foremost authorities on sustainability within the restaurant industry. The GRA conducted a rigorous inspection of our operations, including our energy usage, water conservation measures, how we handle our waste, the usage of disposable materials, chemicals usage, the types of food we offer, as well as looking at the overall building and staff education.

Find Champions Kitchen Green Report here
Find Fresh Food Company Green Report here

Local Partners in Our Dining Halls


We love our local partners! Students are able to experience the flavors of the Bluegrass without having to leave campus. Part of UK Dining’s commitment to sustainability, we have partnered with local restaurants from Kentucky to serve in our dining halls. Popular menu items are featured at select stations and rotate throughout the week. 

Working with local partners allows UK Dining to bring the culturally rich Lexington food scene onto campus. When you eat food from our partners, you are tasting authentic cuisines such as Greek, Indian, Italian, and Asian. The ingredients they use are local, fresh, and flavorful, like the grass-fed beef burgers from Pasture at Champions. You will be served by the smiling faces of the restaurant owners themselves: Nathan, Ilias, Josiah, Wei—these are a few of the names you will learn because they are so excited to get to know you and serve you great food. The smell of wood-fired pizza from Smashing Tomatoes will greet you as you enter Fresh Food Company. Chicken Tikka Masala, Bao Buns, and Street Tacos are just a few of the regular offerings you will find on our menus. Every meal you eat in the dining halls supports the local community and our restaurant partners. 

Managing Sustainability

UK Dining has a full-time dedicated Sustainability Director that works on initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of dining at the University of Kentucky.

Food Recovery


Thanks to a strong partnership with Campus Kitchens at University of Kentucky (CKUK), a student-run organization that recovers unused food, UK Dining is able to provide food for meals that are given to individuals facing food insecurity or hunger.

Almost 3 tons of edible food is diverted from the landfill each year through donation...That's more that 4,750 meals!


UK Dining Sustainability hosts Weigh the Waste events each semester to raise awareness about food waste and recovery. The events track student plate (post-consumer) waste during lunch hours in Fresh Food Company and Champions Kitchen to collect data and then create strategy for reducing food waste and raising awareness about consumption habits across campus.




The oil and grease produced within our dining halls are recovered by an organization that recycles it into biodiesel. Don't worry, this is after we filter and reuse it many times. 

Over 537,000 gallons of cooking oil is recycled each year! 

Recycling bins are located throughout all dining locations across campus. Look for signs from UK Recycling for information on where to put your recyclables.

Local Purchasing


KY Purchasing

UK Dining spends around $4 million annually on food from local farmers and local businesses across the state of Kentucky, and we are committed to increasing that amount year over year.


Checkout this map showing the many farmers and distributors we work with to bring local goodness to every student's plate! 


We purchase over 35,000 lbs of produce & more than 100,000 lbs of proteins from Kentucky Farmers each year!

Funding Growth

UK Dining helps fund the Food Connection, which serves farmers, food producers, students and consumers through creative strategies for a vibrant, healthy, sustainable food economy.

Green to Go Boxes


Champions Kitchen and Fresh Food Company offer Green to Go reusable containers for busy students and staff to carry out meals, while also reducing single-use plastic waste.

Reusable to-go boxes are offered for sale in residential dining locations for students and staff to purchase. Customers purchase for one-time cost of $5 and can use boxes to take food to-go from UK residential dining facilities. They can then return boxes after emptying any food waste and swap out for a clean one.