Chelsea Graves, Dining Services Student Farm Manager, Interdisciplinary Studies Major, at Virginia Tech Kentland Farms

Sustainable Purchasing

Local Food

Why Local?

Virginia Tech Dining Services wants to play a role in strengthening our region's economy through local food purchases. To reduce food miles and support our local economy, we strive to bring you food that is produced as close to Virginia Tech as possible while still maintaining our commitment to quality products.

Dining Services believes that transparency is important to creating a more sustainable food system. If you want to know more about where your food comes from or how it is produced, contact Dining Services' sustainability coordinator at sustainabledining@vt.edu.

What is Local?

We define local as products that are grown and produced within the state of Virginia or within 250 miles of Blacksburg, Virginia, as well as items that are third party certified including organic and fair trade items. This definition is adapted from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) standard.

In the 2014-15 school year, Virginia Tech Dining Services designated 13% of our total food and beverage budget towards local food and beverage purchases as set forth by the definition above

Local Food Highlights

 Dining Services Farm at Kentland: This farm is producing fruits, vegetables and herbs for Virginia Tech Dining Services and forging a connection between the farm and plate. Look for signs in the dining centers letting you know what dishes have ingredients sourced from our farm!

Virginia Tech Meat Science Center: Processes meat grown by Virginia Tech and Dining Services serves this meat in D2 at Dietrick Hall, West End Market, Owens Food Court, and Blue Ridge Barbeque in Hokie Grill & Co. at Owens Hall.

Virginia Tech Milk: Cows are raised on Virginia Tech’s campus, milked twice daily at the Virginia Tech Dairy Barn by students, processed in Goochland Virginia, and then served on campus at D2.

Direct Trade Coffee: Dining Services’ coffee shop, Deet’s Place at Dietrick Hall, purchases direct-trade coffee from a sustainable plantation in Nicaragua, which Dining Services’ leaders have visited.

Sustainable Seafood: West End Market at Cochrane Hall features fresh fish every day that meets the standards of Monterey Bay Seafood Watch’s "Best Choice " or "Good Alternative," in order to protect our waterways and fish populations.

Local Products

Here are some of the local vendors that Virginia Tech Dining Services works with on a regular basis!

View Local Growers and Producers in a larger map

Food Preservation

A common challenge for Farm to School programs across the country is the growing season. In Southwest Virginia, our growing season is almost exactly when school is not in session. That means we have to be creative with deciding what to grow and how to store it.

Food preservation is a key component in expanding the window of time that Dining Services can serve locally-grown food. Dining Services’ Southgate Food Processing Center has partnered with the Department of Food Science and Technology (FST) on several measures to expand its food preservation capacity. Dining Services has added a "fast freezer," which quickly chills food in order to preserve taste and nutritional quality. This will allow us to preserve our summer abundance when most students are out of town and be able to serve local ingredients throughout the winter.