Healthy University Cafeteria Food

Students and university administrators demand more from food on campus. They want healthy, delicious options they can feel good about eating. They want options that align with their values around sustainability and diversity.

You want to bring the highest quality food to your campus and source from values-aligned producers, but finding a reliable source of local food isn’t always easy. You need to be able to trust that your distributor is putting your needs first so that you can bring the best to your university.

That’s where The Common Market comes in. We know that each university has distinct tastes, sourcing needs, and budgets. We use our 15 years of experience as a nonprofit food distributor to bring local food straight from the farm to your campus. You tell us your requirements and we do the legwork to make sure they get met quickly and efficiently. That leaves you more time to engage with students, craft innovative menus, and celebrate good food.

Let's advance food on your campus with farm-fresh produce!

Why Local Higher Ed

Why Local?

Universities are looking for high-quality food on campus. Generic cafeteria food doesn’t cut it. When you source local, you’re breaking the mold. Local sourcing provides you with delicious, unique options for your menus. It aligns with university goals around local investment, diversity, and sustainability.

Local sourcing creates economic opportunity for local farmers and producers. It creates connections between your university and the local food system. When you purchase from our network of local farmers, you support values along:

  • Farms led by people of color, women, veterans
  • Workers’ rights and wages
  • Animal welfare
  • Consumer health and nutrition
  • Regenerative agriculture, soil health, biodiversity
  • And more!

The Common Market is a Reliable Source of Local University Food

At The Common Market we seek to make local, value-aligned sourcing as easy, reliable, and delicious as possible by:

  • Picking up the food from the farmer and delivering it to your site
  • Creating strict food safety protocols including HACCP plans, recall plans, and everyday quality checks
  • Using a streamlined payment process with flexible billing plans designed to work for you
  • Being an approved vendor with major food service providers and having the agility to work with independent providers
  • Putting farm, city, and state of origin information on every box and invoice to make it easy for reporting purposes
  • Supporting you to align your institution’s values like local, diversity and equity and climate, with your purchases
  • Providing Impact Certificates that illustrate the number of farms supported that year, along with pounds of food purchased and dollars spent within the local economy
Impact Certificate Benefits Of Values Aligned Sourcing For University Food And Beverage
Benefits Of Values Aligned Sourcing For University Food And Beverage

How to Make your Cafeteria Food Local

There are just a few simple steps to follow to bring local food to your campus. Here’s how it works:

  1. Connect with our team–simply fill out our interest form below!
  2. Create a partnership between your University and The Common Market
  3. Browse our local availability list and delivery plan for your region
  4. Place your order of healthy, local food
  5. Get your order delivered directly to your site
  6. Use The Common Market marketing materials to promote local food and track your impact

Benefits of Values-Aligned Sourcing for University Food and Beverage

Bringing local food to campus provides more than just great flavor. A partnership with The Common Market supports your university to:

  • Appeal to More Students - Today’s students are well informed about the world. They want to live in alignment with their values around the climate, diversity, and equity. The Common Market prides itself on sourcing from small- and medium-sized farms and prioritizing support of farmers of color. Our food fits with your students’ views of the world.
  • Meet Local Sourcing Goals - Our data and reporting capabilities make it easy for you to track your progress towards local sourcing goals and communicate it to the broader university community.
  • Get the Food you Want When you Need it - Our work to build strong regional supply chains and our control over our own storage and transportation means our distribution is always reliable. We are able to respond quickly to requests and efficiently deliver orders.
Benefits Of Values Aligned Sourcing For University Food And Beverage 2
Our Farm To Campus Partners

Our Farm-to-Campus Partners

We work with universities across the country to incorporate local sourcing into their food procurement strategies. Our partners include programs managed by major food service providers and self-operated institutions including:

  • Sodexo at Lehigh University (PA)
  • Bon Appétit Management Company at Emory University and Spelman College (GA)
  • Bon Appétit Management Company at University of Pennsylvania (PA)
  • Johns Hopkins University (MD)
  • Bon Appétit Management Company at St. Edward's University (TX)
  • Bon Appétit Management Company at University of Alabama Athletics (AL)
  • Aramark at Agnes Scott College and Oglethorpe University (GA)
  • Chartwells at Towson University (MD)
  • and more!

Watch How Institutional Food Service Meets Local Food Goals

Upgrade Your Food Service Through Local Procurement

Universities, hospitals and other anchor institutions often look beyond their own regions to meet their food procurement needs. However, there is enormous potential for food service to "WOW" clients by treating food purchases as an investment in local and regional economies. And the higher education segment offers a timely opportunity as students and faculty are demanding a greater commitment to healthier and more mindful food procurement.

The Real Impact of Real Food: 8 Ways Institutional Procurement is Building a Real Food Economy

The Common Market serves as a local partner to institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, enabling them to meet their Real Food Challenge goals and beyond. The research behind this report set out to answer the following questions: What impact is Real Food purchasing having? In what ways is institutional Real Food purchasing building the robust, healthy food system we want – or not? What do purchasing relationships with colleges and universities mean to vendors on the ground?

Let’s Work Together

The Common Market is committed to your local sourcing success. Our friendly and educated team is here to partner with you every step of the way. Connect with us today to learn how to make local sourcing part of your university food program.