Sustainable Dining

sustainable dining

Local, Natural, Organic

We partner with local artisans and food and beverage providers to source local, natural and organic products. There’s a sustainability story behind each relationship we build. Whether it be related to maintaining and growing sustainable food production and processing in our region, partnering and pooling our resources and expertise to help drive sustainable business practices, or collaborating with our students to support the growing desire for sustainable dining practices on college campuses across the country, our goal is to provide a food system for the UW community that is sustainable.

From conserving to recycling and composting, HFS' priority is to move toward a zero-solid waste goal while sourcing and offering food and beverages that are certified as sustainably grown, harvested, produced and processed. Third-party certifications and entities that we utilize to assist us are Food Alliance, USDA Certified Organic, Marine Stewardship Council Blue Ecolabel, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide, Fair Trade, Certified Humane Raised, Rainforest Alliance and Salmon Safe Certified.

Here are some of the ways we're working to promote sustainable dining:

Farming Practices

  • UW Farm grows and harvests produce right here on campus, and UW Dining sells their produce at the District Market. UW Farm crops are used in menus at Cultivate, Local Point, The 8, Husky Den and The Rotunda in some of their seasonal dishes.
  • Wilcox Family Farms, located near Roy, Washington, at the foot of Mt. Rainier, provides us with all-natural, organic eggs. Organic eggs come from hens raised cage-free without hormones or antibiotics. Wilcox Family Farms has been awarded Salmon Safe certification, an emerging Pacific Northwest eco-label that recognizes farming practices that protect the health of our rivers and streams.
  • Headquartered in Kent, Medosweet is a local family-owned dairy distributor that provides us with milk from Smith Brother Farms. The dairy farms are located in the Enumclaw plateau area. Talk about fresh milk—it arrives at our loading docks within three days of the milking. Medosweet products are all natural, from cows not treated with rBST.

Baked Goods

  • Bagels from Blazing Bagel and bakery items from Marsee Baking (muffins, scones, cookies and donuts) are produced using Shepherd’s Grain flour, which is milled in Spokane from sustainably-grown wheat on farms in the northeastern plateau of our state.
  • Organic breads and rolls for sandwiches are provided by the Essential Baking Company, located in Seattle.
  • Some of the best vegan donuts you will find on the planet are sourced from Mighty O, a bakery near Seattle's Green Lake.
  • Don’t forget to treat yourself to one of the best cupcakes you will ever have on any college campus. They are produced by Cupcake Royal in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.
  • Continental Mills, located in Tukwila, has been producing Krusteaz brand of bakery mixes since 1932. Krusteaz has teamed up with Shepherd's Grain and is now using the Shepherd's Grain flour for our pancakes and the majority of our bakery mix line.
  • UW chefs produce vegan meals utilizing high-quality plant-based proteins sourced from Vancouver, British Columbia, Vashon Island, Washington and Seattle, providing our residential students the opportunity to eat healthy and live sustainably.

Produce and Fair Trade

  • Produce is supplied by Charlie's Produce, a local employee-owned company. Charlie’s has been buying local produce for 25 years. They have 15 conventional growers in the Puyallup/Kent/Mt. Vernon area they draw upon for local produce. They also work with 24 growers in Eastern Washington, plus numerous packing sheds.


  • SeQuential turns UW Dining's used fryer oil into biodiesel fuel. The University purchases biodiesel from SeQuential to fuel some of our vehicles.
  • The raw potato slices for the potato chips sold at Hot Dawgs in Red Square are sourced from farms near Yakima, fried fresh in trans fat-free oil at UW's By George and packaged in compostable bags. The used cooking oil is picked up and processed into biodiesel fuel at a plant near Everett and sold locally.

Waste Reduction

  • In 2016, our customers used reusable mugs in our cafés and restaurants in place of disposable cups more than 140,000 times and received a discount for doing so.

Sustainability To Go

  • Grab-and-go packaged café and market foods are produced locally, including sushi from SoDo and our own line of sandwiches, salads, yogurt parfaits and fresh-cut fruit cups, which are produced on campus by Bay Laurel Catering. All of the packaging is compostable and delivered in biodiesel-powered delivery vehicles.
  • UW markets and cafés offer a tremendous variety of locally sourced favorites such as bottled beverage classics sourced from local bottlers in Bellevue and Mukilteo, Cougar Mountain Cookies from the Magnolia Bluff neighborhood in Seattle, Bon D'Elie Hummus from Bothell and many more products from local artisans, all with a sustainability story to tell.
  • Several UW Dining locations feature Pagliacci Pizza, a local retail restaurant chain that exclusively uses local products in season to create their pizzas. Pagliacci Pizza has championed the use of compostable packaging in our region.

Contact Us

UW Dining Administration
Phone: 206-685-4950

Learn More

Compost, Recycle and Waste Posters

Questions about what to compost vs. what to recycle or throw away? Check out our current sorting station posters for an easy to use guide.

Mercer Court Farm

Read about just how local some of our produce is.

Mercer Court Farm

3-D Waste Sorting Visuals

Helpful displays show you what goes where.

3-D Composting Bins