Your William & Mary Dining Team is dedicated to sustainability. We know we can all work together to make a positive impact right here at William & Mary. We plan initiatives around both company-wide goals and W&M Sustainability goals, and we have more information here about many of these initiatives.
We hire student sustainability interns to better engage with current issues on campus. If you are interested in learning more about our internship program, please review more details here. 2022 - 2023 Sustainability Internship applications are coming soon!
W&M Dining has formed a partnership with a Kelrae Farm, a local family farm in Toano, VA (http://kelraefarm.com/). As part of this partnership, dining interns and student volunteers visit the farm frequently to learn about sustainable agriculture and plant, tend, and harvest produce. Produce grown on the farm is then brought back to W&M dining halls and served to students. This initiative is helping increase education about local food within the W&M community and connect the campus with a source of fresh, local, student-grown food.
In fall 2019, we harvested 130 pounds of cantaloupe; 20 pounds of mesclun mix; 536 pounds of tomatoes; 385 pounds of honeydew; 1,250 pounds of watermelon; 2,600 pounds of sweet potatoes; and 20 pounds of radishes, all of which was either prepare in the dining halls or sold in the student stores. The university dining program started building its own apiary, with the help of a mentor at the KelRae Farm, which takes a long time and yielded its first batch of honey at the end of June 2019. The current two hives are only producing a small amount of honey. The current, small batch of honey will be used in a homemade honey balsamic salad dressing. Other possibilities are incorporating honey into specialty cookies, breads or bakery items.
In a partnership with W&M Sustainability, W&M Dining received a Green Fee Grant to obtain our very own hydroponics walls from Opcom Farms (https://www.opcomfarm.com/pagenew). These are maintained by W&M Dining Sustainability Interns, along with our culinary staff. W&M Dining brings foods directly from our hydroponics wall to your plate!
In the fall 2019 semester, we harvested approximately 1,200 red lettuce leaves, 440 green lettuce leaves, 1,680 cilantro leaves, and 120 parsley leaves in the spring 2019 semester; and 840 cilantro leaves, 900 parsley leaves, 700 red lettuce leaves, and 120 chives.
Our sustainability interns have partnered with W&M Sustainability to help maintain several of the campus garden plots behind DuPont Hall. They have done a variety of tasks, such as seeding, weeding, and harvesting.
In addition to our partnership with Kelrae Farm, our hydroponic walls, and our partnership with the campus gardens, W&M Dining works with many other suppliers to promote local, responsible sourcing. For example, we work with Cavalier Produce, which sources from many farms around Virginia (https://www.cavalierproduce.com/). Many of our suppliers are also SWAM-certified, a certification program in Virginia that promotes small, women, and minority-owned businesses.
Want to get involved?
Hydroponics shifts consist of tasks ranging from planting seeds, to checking nutrient levels, to harvesting plants, to cleaning walls, and more. Sign up coming soon!
Did you know that we compost all of our excess food? In fact, from January through December 2019, William & Mary composted just under 347,000 pounds (or about 173 tons) of items! There are composting bins in the dish rooms at Commons and Sadler, there are self-sorting bins at the exit of Marketplace, and there are many public compost bins around campus, as can be found on this map: https://arcg.is/0jv8Sy. You can put in any type of food, any paper products, and anything that says “greenware”, “ecoware”, or “compostable” on it.
Once our compostable items are collected, they are picked up by NOPE LLC (Natural Organic Processes Enterprise - https://www.nopeva.com/) three times per week, and they are brought to McGill (https://mcgillcompost.com/), a composting facility in Waverly, VA. There, our items are mixed, heated, and pressurized with many other compostable items from other locations, and some of the finished compost has been brought back to William & Mary and used to improve soil quality.