Local Food

Buying locally can make a dramatic impact on the environment and our local economy. Less transportation distance reduces carbon dioxide emissions as well as packaging being used. It keeps dollars in our local economy and the food tastes fresher. Colby works with over 100 local growers, processors, and manufacturers to bring students fresh produce and goods from the State of Maine.  Colby and North Center, our major food supplier, practice a “Maine First” policy and use out of state goods only when native is not available.  This emphasis on buying locally has led to 20% of Colby’s total Dining Services budget going to local food and supplies.


Students enjoying a meal at Roberts Dining Hall.

Organic Food

Organic food is food raised or grown without the use of pesticides, chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics. All three dining halls consistently serve a selection of organic foods. The Foss dining hall is particularly notable because it specializes in vegan and vegetarian fare with over 29 organic items available on the menu. Composting: Colby composts over 100 tons of pre- and post-consumer waste. Our composting and recycling initiatives have been recognized nationally.

Sustainable Catering Menu

In response to an increased demand for sustainable options for catered events, Dining Services has a new menu featuring many local and organic items. The staff has increased composting at catered meals, and serving water in pitchers rather than plastic bottles. When using paper plates, biodegradable Chinet has replaced the black plastic plates previously used.

Trayless Dining

The Colby dining halls implemented trayless dining in 2008, saving approximately 79,000 gallons of water and 50 tons of food waste annually.Sustainable Seafood: “The Fish List” is a nationally recognized guideline for making eco-friendly and sustainable seafood purchasing choices. In response to concerns about overfishing and destructive fishing practices, Colby has established a policy that adheres to this List in the dining services board meal plan.

Removal of bottled water from campus

A three year student led campaign (Sarah Sorenson ’11 leading the campaign) to remove bottled water from campus has successfully eliminated bottled water from catered events on campus, including meals, lectures, and meetings, and from campus-wide events such as commencement, reunion weekend, and orientation.  In addition, the campus bookstore and spa have also stopped selling bottled water and on April 22, 2011 Athletics also agreed to stop the use of bottled water.