Dining and Local Foods

sustainability flyer for UAF dining services

University of Alaska is committed to fostering a sustainable food system by engaging in practices that reduce and recycle waste, help organize and support sustainability events, and look for ways to introduce local foods into the menu. Food waste is the third largest waste stream in the United States (after paper and yard waste) and a major area Dining Services has targeted to reduce.

Excess food products that meet quality and safety standards are donated to the local Fairbanks Community Food Bank.

What is UAF doing?

  • Thousands of cardboard boxes bring product and supplies to the University of Alaska Fairbanks; they no longer fill up the dumpsters and then landfills but are delivered to the Fairbanks Rescue Mission where they are recycled.
  • Did you hear that UAF grows several of its own produce items right here on the UAF Campus? It's a growing program in which Dining Services and UAF are pleased to partner to develop and include more of the produce you eat! Read about our efforts in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (PDF | Web).
  • UAF has eliminated trays from the dining hall in an effort to reduce food waste and trash. Removing trays also saves water and heat for washing. Going trayless in the dining hall has resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the volume of waste produced post consumer, reduced food prep and 220,000 less trays washed annually.
  • Used cooking oil is being converted into biodiesel in a unique partnership with Denali Bio-fuel. Biodiesel production diverts cooking oil from landfills, while its use reduces emissions of major greenhouse gases and substances such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, hazardous diesel particulates, and the acid-rain-causing sulfur dioxide.
  • Dining Services uses napkins that are 90 percent post-consumer recycled paper and are interfolded so that they dispense one at a time to help reduce waste.
  • In 2009, Dining services initiated a reusable to-go container to help go greener. Environmentally-friendly plastic containers are charged on Polar Express cards and credited when returned. Containers are then cleaned and sanitized for reuse.
  • Dining Services has partnered with local mushers to recycle protein scraps and fuel Alaskan sled dogs.

Related links:


Local foods

Local foods are available at local Farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), home gardens, the Fairbanks community garden. and the UAF Campus Community Garden.

Community Supported Agriculture is a popular way for folks to buy local food directly from farmers. CSA Farming offers a full growing season “share” typically consisting of a box of vegetables. Interested consumers purchase a share, subscription or membership and in return receive weekly seasonal produce throughout the growing season. Consumers who pay early in the season get to know their farmers while helping with the farm’s cash flow.

Local CSAs, organic farms and markets include but are not limited to:

There are also several schools in Fairbanks that grow and maintain gardens, some of which have their own CSAs. Vist the following link for information on this Schoolyard Garden Initiative.

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