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The Good Food Garden, a student-run space that grows fruits and vegetables in spring, summer, and fall. 

Swarthmore is committed to a healthy, equitable food system that enhances the well-being of our community and supports our sustainability goals. Read on to learn about how dining services, student groups, campus projects, and community groups work to create a thriving, sustainable food system.

Sustainable Dining Services

Dining Services strives to uphold the College's commitment to sustainability by sourcing locally produced foods, reducing waste and conserving resources. You can learn more about sustainability in dining services by visiting their website. Sustainability highlights from Dining Services include: 

100% compostable or reusable food packaging: our secondary dining facilities, including Essie Mae's Snack Bar, Kohlberg Coffee Bar, and the Science Center Coffee Bar, offer 100% compostable packaging Sharples Dining Hall uses reusable plates, cups, utensils, and to-go packaging for food. The reusable takeout container program was developed in 2019 and 2020 by Samantha Barnes ‘22. For more information about how dining services has reduced the use of non-compostable materials, click here.

Commitment to compost: The College works with Kitchen Harvest, a local, family-owned business, to compost kitchen and post-consumer waste collected throughout campus. The compost is sorted by Green Advisors on campus, transported and processed by Kitchen Harvest, and eventually used at a family farm located in Middletown, PA. In 2018, Kitchen Harvest collected almost 310,00 pounds of compostable waste. On an annual basis, that works out to about 110 pounds of compostable waste per student, faculty, and staff. For more information about our waste on campus, click here. 

Local food procurement: Dining Services has a team of dedicated staff that purchases ingredients, prepares and cooks meals, and serves more than 4,500 meals per day. These staff have developed relationships with local farmers and bakers, who provide food such as cage-free egg from Sandy Ridge Farm, bread from Le Bus Bakery, and fresh apples from Beechwood Orchards. In addition to buying directly from local food producers, Dining Services is proud to work with a number of local, privately owned and operated food distributors. Each of these companies feature locally produced items, provide employment to area residents, and support their communities. For more information, click here.

Dining and Community Commons Project: This project includes the construction of a new dining facility and renovation of the existing Sharples as a student-focused commons. The new dining facility will open in 2022, and the renovated Sharples commons will open in 2023. The building has been designed with a goal of net-zero carbon emissions and contains infrastructure to support the “Roadmap to Zero,” our energy master plan designed to reimagine our approach to powering, heating, and cooling campus and realize our commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. Learn more here.

Student Groups

While many student groups host events with food, EAT and the Good Food Project focus specifically on aspects of growing, cooking, and eating healthy and delicious food. You can learn more about EAT, the Good Food Project, and other sustainability-related groups here.

Swarthmore Farmers Market

The Swarthmore Farmers Market takes place in downtown Swarthmore at Central Park (121 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081) every Saturday from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM between May 11 and December 7. For more information about the Farmers Market, click here


Harvest Dinner

This yearly tradition brings the Swarthmore community together to celebrate fall with locally sourced seasonal specials, and to showcase the delicious local foods that Dining Services regularly serves.


Local Food

In addition to buying directly from a number of local farmers and food producers, Dining Services is proud to work with numerous local, privately owned and operated food distributors. Each of these companies feature locally produced items, provide employment to area residents, and support communities in our region. Dining Services is dedicated to providing as much food as possible that is locally sourced, environmentally sustainable, and produced in equitable and safe work environments.