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.
There are plenty of opportunities to access fresh, local, healthy food at Hopkins, whether it’s a Farmers’ Market or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). 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).
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, all Homewood dining facilities have migrated to compostable to-go items and offer composting as a waste disposal option.
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. In November of 2013, President Daniels pledged that at least 35% of the food purchased for the campus will be local, ecologically-sound, fair, or humane by 2020. This commitment makes Johns Hopkins the one of largest universities in the nation to accept the Real Food Challenge and exceeds the challenge’s recommended goal by 20%. For the 2017-18 school year, the real food purchases for Fresh Food Cafe, Levering Kitchen, and Nolan’s on 33rd totaled 29.5%, surpassing the goal recommended by the Real Food Challenge.
HopkinsLocal was launched in September 2015 and establishes a firm and measurable commitment to hire, buy, and build within Baltimore. One of the priority areas of HopkinsLocal is Catering & Food Service. The Office of Sustainability contributes to these efforts through direct involvement on the HopkinsLocal Advisory Council as well as making information available on hosting Zero Waste Events, selecting Preferred Green Caterers, and planning Green Events. Additionally, the Operations Subcommittee of the Sustainability Leadership Council (SLC) includes a Sustainable Procurement Working Group that makes recommendations for responsible purchasing across campus including within dining services. Members of the SLC also contribute to the affiliated Plant Forward Dining Working Group.
Johns Hopkins 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.
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.