Sustainable Food and Dining Skip Navigation

Sustainable Food and Dining Services

New York State produces a bounty of food each year, so why waste resources shipping food in and our money out? We encourage local, healthy, and sustainable dining that enhances our quality of life here in central New York!
'Gate-to-go Reusable food container
While we are ever-vigilant for new opportunities, here are a few of the measures we have taken to “green” Colgate’s dining services.

Our Local Philosophy

Our location in central New York means we are surrounded by a prosperous agricultural area. One of our main goals is to maximize the utilization of this local agriculture on campus. Already, 20 percent of our food purchases come from local sources (see the report by Olivia Kuby '12) with our goal being 30 percent by 2015

Buying local has many benefits, including:
  • supporting our local farming community;
  • strengthening personal relationships with our neighbors;
  • reducing emissions associated with transporting large food quantities over long distances; and
  • providing us with higher quality, better tasting, fresh food
Colgate food facts
  • All of our rice (white, brown, and basmati) is organic.
  • We use organic beans including kidney, black, pinto, chili, lentil, split pea, and navy.
  • We offer a daily vegan option at Frank, our main dining facility.
  • All disposable cutlery is biodegradable.
  • We promote reusable mugs by selling them for the low price of $2.50 filled with a beverage. Refills on all beverages are discounted with your personal mug.
  • We do not use any Styrofoam products.
  • Dining Services recycles paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, and glass.
  • We use corn-based bio-plastic containers that are 100 percent compostable where take-out food is available.
  • Our napkins are made from post-consumer content, chlorine-free, and completely compostable.
  • We dispense napkins at each table to promote use only as needed and to produce less waste.

Colgate’s Community Vegetable Garden

The passion for fresh, local, sustainable produce runs so deep at Colgate that we decided to build our own community garden. Its produce is served in Frank, the campus's main dining hall. READ MORE

Community Service

Colgate Hunger Outreach Program (CHOP)
This group of student volunteers addresses issues of hunger in Madison County and strives to educate the Colgate community about the deeper issues surrounding hunger and poverty.

Dining Services
Colgate Dining Services collaborates with local merchants to provide 80 meals weekly to the Friendship Inn.

Salvage Program
Run by the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE), this program recruits student, faculty, and staff volunteers to collect hundreds of pounds of donated and unused supplies and food items at the end of the academic year for local charities.

Trayless Dining

Students in ENST 390 investigated the costs and benefits of removing trays from Frank Dining Hall, a strategy eventually adopted to reduce food waste. READ MORE

Local Suppliers

These are the places where we purchase locally — and you can too!
Dan Purdy and Sons
We are proud of our relationship with Dan Purdy and Sons of nearby Sherburne, N.Y.  As the only USDA federally inspected local agricultural processors of meats, poultry, and seafood in the region, Purdy and Sons streamlines Colgate’s purchase and consumption of locally produced food for our dining halls. Moreover, Purdy and Sons specializes in responsible and organic farming practices.

Learn more:
Common Thread Community Farm
Dining Services purchases produce from Common Thread (located only five miles north of campus, near Lake Moraine). Numerous students, faculty, and staff also have shares through Common Thread. By supporting Common Thread, shareholders get delectable and nutritious, locally grown food while helping to support our local economy and neighbors. When you join the farm, you are making a practical step towards supporting a vibrant and healthy food system.

Learn more:
Mento Produce
This is one of our produce suppliers, providing local, in-season produce. Mento is located in nearby Syracuse, N.Y.

Crowley Foods (Dairy)
Our milk supplier is Crowley Dairy, in Binghamton, N.Y. Crowley Foods delivers locally produced milk from Madison, Chenango, and Cortland counties.

Learn more:
Fair Trade Coffee
We are dedicated to serving fair trade coffee in all resident and retail locations. Fair trade certified means an independent monitor guarantees producers work in decent conditions and are paid a fair wage for their product.

Learn more:

Additionally, Colgate supports the following upstate New York farms through our purchasing practices:
  • Old Farm (Edmonton, N.Y.) - beef
  • Red Jacket Orchards (Geneva, N.Y.) - juices
  • Chobani (New Berlin, N.Y.) - organic yogurt
  • Cayuga Pure Organics (Ithaca, N.Y.) - organic beans and grains
  • Upstate Harvest (Chenango County, N.Y.) - organic granola
Check these sites out to learn more about sustainable food options for you in Madison County: