Office of Sustainability


Local Food Initiative

The Berea College Local Food Initiative (LFI) is a grassroots group of students, faculty, and staff who collaborate to promote and implement sustainable dining and a local food system on campus and in the community.  In Fall 2005, LFI submitted a comprehensive report and set of recommendations to the Berea College Administrative Committee, which responded with a motion to incorporate more local foods, including College-grown produce/livestock, into the College dining services.

In response to its ongoing work with the Berea College Local Food Initiative, Sodexo hired a Sustainability Coordinator for Berea Dining Services in 2007.  Berea College Dining Services and the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Department regularly collaborate to promote and serve College-grown food in the dining hall as well as to compost pre- and post-consumer food waste.

Recent Accomplishments

In Spring 2009, the ANR Department hosted a campus-wide Food Summit “to better understand the environmental, economic, and cultural importance of food and agriculture, discuss the values and challenges of a more localized food system, and explore opportunities for Berea.”

  • In Fall 2008, a student-initiated collaboration (including LFI, Oxfam, and other student groups) worked with LFI on a series of awareness raising events at Berea College in conjunction with the national Real Food Now! month of action.
  • In July 2008, both the campus and dining Sustainability Coordinators co-sponsored a Green Event Planning workshop for campus offices and programs, which featured a presentation component on Sustainable Dining, a local food lunch, and modeling of other green event practices.
  • In Spring 2008, Dining Services partnered with the Facilities Management grounds crew to secure a sustainability mini-grant to construct and plant an educational herb garden near the kitchen that is maintained and utilized by student workers and kitchen staff.
  • In May 2007, several LFI members visited Warren Wilson College to learn more about their local food initiative and working with Sodexo.
  • In Spring 2007, several LFI members met with relevant College administrators to discuss the tracking of local foods data, the difficulty of getting accurate information from distributors, and the need to develop a clearer definition of local food and goals for implementation.

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