The decisions we make about the type of food we eat, how it’s grown, served, and disposed can have a tremendous impact on the environment. Choosing to eat sustainably means eating food that is grown locally, responsibly, in season when available, with minimal packaging, and lower on the food chain. Johns Hopkins supports the local food economy by establishing community gardens, hosting weekly farmers' markets, and managing community supported agriculture programs on our campuses, as well as the varied efforts by Dining Services to facilitate responsible dining opportunities for students, staff and faculty. After all, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was the birthplace of the now national Meatless Monday campaign, which aims to promote opting for vegetarian options every Monday.

Farmers' Markets and Community Supported Agriculture

There are plenty of opportunities to access fresh, local, healthy food at Hopkins, whether it's a Farmers' Market or Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA is a mutually beneficial relationship between local farmers and the community where CSA members buy a share at the beginning of the growing season in exchange for weekly deliveries of produce during harvest (June-Nov). For a full roundup of Farmers' Markets and CSAs at JHU, see the recent Hub overview.

CSA programs are available at through One Straw Farm at HomewoodSchool of Public Health, and the Space Telescope Science Institute, and through the Jones Family Farm at the Keswick Farmer's Market.

Farmers' Markets hosted by JHU are located at the Hospital, Keswick, and Montgomery County Campus during the week. There are a number of other local Farmers' Markets, typically on weekend mornings.

Campus Dining

The Homewood campus continuously evaluates services to make their purchasing and dining operations more sustainable. Past initiatives include purchasing only local, antibiotic and hormone free milk, eliminating trays from the freshman dining hall to reduce water and energy consumption and wasted food, and installing water and energy saving appliances in all of their dining facilities. Dining Services has also collaborated with the Office of Sustainability, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Education and Wellness to launch the “Know Your FoodPrint" campaign which raises awareness about the connection between our food choices and the environment.   Additionally, many campus dining facilities have migrated to compostable to-go items and offer composting as a waste disposal option on site, including hosting the first zero waste café on the Homewood campus, Café Azafran.

Real Food Hopkins is a student-run chapter of the national Real Food Challenge movement committed to bringing local, sustainable, humane, and fair food to the Johns Hopkins campus and the surrounding Baltimore area through organizing food advocacy and awareness events, cooperating with the larger food movement, maintaining a sustainable campus garden, promoting community-based learning about food and where it comes from, and donating fresh produce acquired to organizations that feed the local hungry.  In November of 2013, President Daniels pledged that at least 35% of the food purchased for the campus will be local, sustainlable and fair-trade by 2020.  This commitment makes Johns Hopkins the one of largest universities in the nation  to accecpt the Real Food Challenge and exceeds the challenge's recommended goal by 20%. For the 2013-14 school year, the Fresh Food Café's real food purchases totaled 26%, surpassing the goal recommended by the Real Food Challenge. 

Campus Gardens

Students are invited to volunteer, garden with community members, or garden their own plot at the Blue Jay’s Perch Community Garden at Johns Hopkins Eastern. The Perch is a space for Johns Hopkins students, faculty, and staff to join community members to learn and practice safe and environmentally sustainable food production. Surplus food from the garden is donated to Campus Kitchens who prepares and provides meals for hungry men and women in Baltimore City. The Garden welcomes eager hands to help with gardening. Hopkins Honeybees maintains four honeybee hives and hosts on campus events to teach the Johns Hopkins and Baltimore communities about honeybees.

Maryland Food System Map

The Center for a Livable Future (CLF) has been developing a food system mapping tool and database to examine the current landscape of Maryland’s food system from farm to plate, and to inform activities aimed at strengthening that system. It includes farms producing food, processors, distributors, retail food outlets and institutions like schools and hospitals.

The food system map is multidimensional, utilizing GIS technology that enables layered displays of graphically linked data, and integrating a variety of database resources. New data sets are continually added to the database, and will be added to the website in a phased approach. You will find datasets and PDF maps on the website, in addition to the interactive map.

Ideas in Action

Think before you print.

Office paper is highly recyclable, but a lot gets wasted. Waste reduction is more cost-effective than recycling because it reduces the amount of material that needs to be collected, transported and processed.