Food Sustainability

This website contains a lot of fantastic information and links to various projects concerning Food System Sustainability.  Click on a link below to jump to that portion of the page.

Edible Forest GardensSustainable Food Options On-CampusSustainable Food Options Off-CampusEvergreen Food GuideCommon TerminologyResources

Edible Forest Garden Project

Initiated by Grad Fellow and former RAD Sustainability Coordinator Natalie Pyrooz, this garden is located to the west of the HCC and features various native and non-native edible plants.


MODs Kitchen Garden & Fruit Tree Landscaping

The kitchen gardens and native landscaping around the workshop in the MODs was installed and maintained by RAD Facilities Grounds staff and produces food for the staff of RAD Facilities.

The fruit tree landscaping was initiated by a collaboration between Community Gardens and a former RA; there are currently two plots planted with primarily cherry and apple trees.

Sustainable Food Options On-Campus

Dining Services Locations

Include the Greenery, Market, and Corner Store; students, faculty, and staff can use their meal plans at these locations to purchase hot foods, meals to go and groceries.  Dining Services locations are operated by a third party food service operator, ARAMARK Dining Services.  Dining Services is the hub of the sustainable food purchasing initiative - a goal set by the Sustainability Council to purchase 40% of food from local, organic or local organic sources by 2010.


The main campus cafeteria  is open 8am to 8pm with continual availability of hot food from the grill and salad bar items with more hot food available during meal times.  They regularly feature produce fresh from the on-campus Organic Farm and other local farms on the salad bar.  Keep an eye out for labels marking local and organic foods in the Greenery – found primarily on the salad bar but also featured at other stations. The Greenery also features milk supplied by Smith Brothers Farm, a local dairy where the cows are never treated with horomones, and delivered by a local milk delivery business and eggs that are Certified Humane and supplied by Stiebrs Farms in Yelm.

Eating in the Greenery promotes reduction of both food waste and packaging waste by giving the eater the ability to take what they care to eat and use washable dishware.  The Greenery also practices composting and recycling and encourages customers to take only what they care to eat and to compost their food waste after their meal.

In Fall 2009, the Greenery eliminated the availability of paper to-go containers and replaced them with a Sustainable To-Go program in which eaters use and return compostable, reusable containers.



The Market is located on the main floor of the College Activities Building and offers locally roasted coffee from Batdorf and Bronson, local bagels from The Bagel Brothers, fresh made salads, pizzas, soups, and sandwiches along with natural beverages and other snacks.  You will also find compost available in this location!

Corner Store

Offers a wide variety of grocery items, household items, and more with organic and environmentally friendly options available for almost all products.

The Organic Farm

Operated by the students of The Evergreen Organic Farm and can be found on Red Square near the Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays typically between 11-4pm.  There you will find the most local and organic produce available on-campus, grown and cared for by students of the Practice of Sustainable Agriculture programs.  Proceeds from the farm go directly to facilitate the growing of more vegetables.


Flaming Eggplant

A student-run and initiated café is open to the public and located in the College Activites Building.  They strive to use seasonal ingredients based on food that is locally available and organically grown.  The mission of the Flaming Eggplant is to “nourish people with healthy ingredients, nurture local economy with out business, and break social boundaries to help sustain a unified community.”

Sustainable Food Options Off-Campus

Olympia Farmer's Market

Open 10am - 3pm

April - October:  Open Wednesday through Sunday

November & December: Open Saturday & Sunday

Olympia Food Co-op

The purpose of the Cooperative is to contribute to the health and well-being of people by providing wholesome foods and other goods and services, accessible to all, through a locally-oriented, collectively managed, not-for-profit cooperative organization that relies on consensus decision making.  We strive to make human effects on the earth and its inhabitants positive and renewing and to encourage economic and social justice. 

Eastside Co-op located at 311 Pacific Ave Olympia, WA 98501

Westside Co-op located at 921 Rogers St Olympia, WA 98502

Thurston County Farms

There are many small to medium scale farms in Thurston County ranging from CSA farms, market farms and U-pick farms.  Visiting a local farm is a wonderful way to become more engaged in the local food system while learning more about where our food comes from.

To see a recent list of Thurston County Farms visit

Local Restaurants

Many restaurants feature locally produced or organically grown ingredients.  Ask your server for more information about your food to learn more.  Food operations that are independently owned and operated by a community member may have more flexibility to offer seasonal local food products. 

Visit the Buy Local Campaign Website to find restaurants, grocers, bakeries and coffee shops:

Common Terminology

Local is defined as the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon & Idaho), focused on a 150 mile range from campus.  This definition incorporates produce, dairy products, grain products, meat and seafood.  This definition is provided by the Sustainable Food Systems Working Group, 2009.

USDA Organic In 2000, after a 10-year development process, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rolled out its rules covering use of the word "organic" on foods. The USDA accredits independent certifiers, who then check the claims of producers. The system has three levels:

  • "100% Organic": Can only contain organic ingredients, meaning no antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering, radiation or synthetic pesticides or fertilizers can be used. Can display the USDA organic logo and/or the specific certifying agent's logo.
  • "Organic": Contains 95% organic ingredients, with the balance coming from ingredients on the approved National List. These products can also display the USDA organic logo and/or the certifier's logo.
  • "Made with Organic Ingredients": Must be made with at least 70% organic ingredients, three of which must be listed on the package, and the balance must be on the National List. These products may display the certifier's logo but not the USDA organic logo.

Genetically-Modified Organism (GMO) is a term that refers to plants that have had genes implanted to improve their performance by making them resistant to certain pesticides, diseases, or insects.


Genetically-Modified Organism (GMO) An organism into which has been inserted—through genetic engineering—one or more genes from an outside source (either from the same species or from an entirely different species) that contains coding for desired characteristics, such as herbicide resistance or an antibacterial compound.


Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South. Fair Trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade. Fair Trade's strategic intent is:

  • deliberately to work with marginalized producers and workers in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency
  • to empower producers and workers as stakeholders in their own organizations
  • to actively to play a wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international trade.'


Learn more about Fair Trade:

Free-range is often used to describe poultry and sometimes pork, “free-range” usually means that the animals have room to run around outside. It does not necessarily mean that the animals can go anywhere they please. Fences may be used to keep the animals from destroying crops or to protect them from predators.


Pasture-raised is a production system in which the animals spend most of their time living on a pasture, with access to shelter. Pasture-raised is a little different from grass-fed. Pork and poultry can be pasture- raised, but because hogs and chickens have a different digestive system from grazing animals like cows, they do not eat just grass. Hogs and chickens will eat some green plants, but usually get a grain ration as well.


Pastured Eggs and Meat are chicken products which have been harvested from chickens allowed to roam in open pastures. Advocates of pastured eggs believe that the chickens are happier and healthier, and nutritional analysis has shown that pastured eggs are also richer in useful nutritious elements like omega 3 acids and vitamin C. As a result of more labor intensive production techniques, pastured eggs are more expensive than conventional ones, and they are rarely available in conventional supermarkets, which order eggs in such high volume that small farmers cannot meet the demand.

Some consumers confuse the concept of free-range eggs with pastured eggs. Many conventional egg supply companies encourage this confusion, because consumers are sometimes willing to pay a premium price for products that they believe were harvested in humane and sustainable ways. However, the two terms are not synonymous. “Free range” eggs, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, must come from chickens which are offered access to the outside. Many commercial production companies provide this access in the form of a small door which is opened a few times a day; used to being confined indoors, the chickens make no move to explore the outdoors. Pastured eggs, however, come from chickens which are raised on pasture, with mobile coops to roost in at night.


Locavore is a term coined by a San Francisco group interested in promoting local sustainable agriculture and raising consumer awareness of impacts of food choices. They advocate eating only, or primarily, food grown within a 100 mile radius of one's location. In their case, San Francisco.

Read more:

The word locavore has come to indicate a person who prefers to focus their diet on locally available foods, that definition of local can be regional, a certain mileage or from their surrounding area and personal garden.

Seasonal Food refers especially to fresh fruits and vegetables, which are available from local farmers only at certain times of the year. For example, rhubarb, and asparagus are some of the first fresh foods available in the spring.


Food miles is a concept regarding the distance a food travels from farm to table. Food miles are commonly used to promote local food purchases, increase awareness about the importance of local foods and calculate carbon emissions as related to food transportation.

The concept of food miles originated in 1990 in the United Kingdom. It was conceived by Andrea Paxton, who wrote a research paper that discussed the fact that food miles are the distance that food travels from the farm it is produced on to the kitchen in which it is being consumed(Iles, 2005, p.163). Engelhaupt (2008) states, that “food miles is the distance food travels from farm to plate, are a simple way to gauge food’s impact on climate change” (p. 3482).


Calculate Food Miles with Organic Linker


On - Campus

The Evergreen Organic Farm Flaming Eggplant Dining Services


Olympia Food Coops Farmer's Market Buy Local Guide County Farm Map


Food and Water Watch and Climate Change Table http://www.sustainabletable.orgSustainable Food Laboratory Food USA Well Guide