Campus Dining believes that sustainability is about creating a better future by maintaining a balance between the human need to improve health and well‐being, and preserving natural resources and ecosystems on which we and future generations depend. That is why we are dedicated to keeping Auburn University, our thriving family and the earth truly nourished by using sustainable dining practices in all our venues; ranging from water conservation and waste reduction to locally‐sourced and organic food.
The Auburn University Community Garden is currently managed by Academic Sustainability Programs, as an educational and community service to the campus. The garden is located on West Samford Avenue just past Wire Road, across from the Facilities complex, and is a short walk or bicycle ride from the center of campus.
Food preparation is the first area where Tiger Dining works to minimize waste. Trim Trax is a food waste reduction program used to track, measure and reduce the amount of food waste in our facilities on campus. By collecting food scraps in measurable containers, operational efficiency increases as food prep workers become more conscious about reducing food waste and its environmental impact. As an example, coffee grounds from our coffee shops and restaurants are collected in five-gallon buckets which are then donated to a local charity and recycled into a nearby community garden. This not only eliminates food waste and landfill space but also provides vital nutrients to enrich local soil.
Serving food is the second area where Tiger Dining works diligently to minimize food waste. Many foods served in Tiger Dining locations are made to order. Patrons order custom sandwiches and salads, eliminating the need to remove unwanted toppings or condiments. This reduces a substantial amount of food waste. Tiger Dining also serves food and drink in biodegradable and eco-friendly containers to help minimize the impact on landfills.
We make every effort to purchase locally grown foods whenever possible. Some examples are: Locally grown vegetables and preserves from AU grad Josh Hornsby’s farm are available at Terrell Market along with Jesse’s Girls Honey provided by Jesse Chappell, who serves on the faculty at AU Fisheries. Mama Mocha’s on Gay Street roasts the coffee beans sold at Terrell Market where you’ll also find McEwen & Son’s grits, grains and organic popcorn (McEwens are alumni, and the sons are current Auburn students). Wickles Pickles and T.Lish dressings, also in the Terrell Market, are food lines created by Auburn Alumni. Ralf Du Toit lives in town, and along with his daughter, a current Auburn student, grows cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce that are served by Tiger Catering, in Plains to Plate, and as salad ingredients throughout campus.
In 2013, our executive chef, Emil Topel, won the Spirit of Sustainability Award given to students, faculty and staﬀ who exemplify the Auburn spirit by making signiﬁcant contributions toward sustainability on campus. Some of Emil’s contributions include bringing local, organic food to campus and switching from Styrofoam to decomposable products.
Tiger Dining is proud to partner with the Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) to eliminate food waste in the third area of food service. Food that has been prepared but not served is not thrown away! This food is placed in containers and refrigerated at the end of each day. Campus Kitchens volunteers collect these containers on a regular basis. These volunteers then safely store the food, and each week they repackage the food and deliver it to food insecure individuals within our local community.
Any food packaging that can be recycled is being sent for recycling by our food preparation crews.
Tiger Catering offers three different levels of sustainable dining: reusable glass plates, recyclable plastic plates, or compostable plates with compostable flatware to accommodate customers’ preferences.
Tiger Dining has eliminated the use of Styrofoam containers in campus restaurants.
If you walk into our dining facilities, you’ll notice a lack of trays. Restaurants serve food in compostable containers, and buffets use reusable ceramic plates and stainless flatware. One of the best features of going tray-less is that is discourages students from taking more food than they can potentially eat.