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:

Local Partners in Our Dining Halls

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We love our local partners! Students are able to experience 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, Asian, and Cajun. 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: Dan, Ilias, Josiah, Lesme—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, Jambalaya 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.

Here are the restaurants offered at each dining hall:

Fresh Food Co.

  • Athenian Grill
  • Smashing Tomato
  • Taste of India
  • Atomic Ramen

Champions Kitchen

  • Athenian Grill
  • Taste of India
  • Atomic Ramen
  • Bourbon ‘n Toulouse
  • Pasture by Marksbury Farm

Managing Sustainability

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UK Dining has a full-time dedicated Sustainability Manager that works on initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of dining at the University of Kentucky.

Trayless Dining

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With trayless dining, UK Dining conserves energy and water, minimizes single-use plastic waste, and reduces the amount of cleaning chemicals entering the waste stream.


Food Recovery

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Thanks to a strong partnership with Campus Kitchens at University of Kentucky (CKUK), a student-run organization that recovers leftover food that was not in service, UK Dining is able to provide food for meals that are given to individuals facing food insecurity or hunger.

Weekly tracking by UK Dining Sustainability determines the number of meals that are picked up and distributed in the community and works with catering to use the Meal Connect app for out of schedule pickups.

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.

 


Recycling

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The fryer oil produced within Champions Kitchen is recovered by an organization that converts it into biodiesel.

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


Local Purchasing

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KY Purchasing

UK Dining purchases almost $2 million annually of food from local farmers and businesses across the state of Kentucky. Look for the Local Impact logo around the dining hall to find ingredients purchased from Kentucky producers.

 

UK Dining is committed to increasing the amount of Kentucky Proud purchases year over year.

 

The map above shows the farms and distributors across Kentucky whose products end up on student’s plates in the dining halls!


Funding Growth

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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

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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.


Food Recovery

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Thanks to a strong partnership with Campus Kitchens at University of Kentucky (CKUK), a student-run organization that recovers leftover food that was not in service, UK Dining is able to provide food for meals that are given to individuals facing food insecurity or hunger.

Weekly tracking by UK Dining Sustainability determines the number of meals that are picked up and distributed in the community and works with catering to use the Meal Connect app for out of schedule pickups.

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.