The Mason Dining team maintains numerous initiatives aimed at making George Mason University a more sustainable campus. We source numerous products locally, including milk, honey, and produce according to seasonal availability. In addition, an on-campus greenhouse, two “Urban Cultivator” herb-growing units in our dining halls, and a partnership with Zeponic farms, provide freshly harvested lettuces and herbs.
President’s Park Greenhouse
The President’s Park Greenhouse, located adjacent to Ike’s, grows lettuce and herbs for Ike’s dining hall. For more information about current harvest and volunteer opportunities in the greenhouse, visit the Facebook page here:
Read more about the President’s Park Greenhouse here:
George Mason University is proud to have a flourishing greenhouse on campus. Located in President’s Park, right next door to Ike’s Dining Hall, the hydroponic operating greenhouse supplies fresh produce to students on campus. Look for the logo below on items such as swiss chard, microgreens, and basil to indicate that the vegetables were grown locally on campus! For more infromation click the “Dining Programs and Initiatives” tab or check out the President’s Park Greenhouse Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/gmugreenhouse.
Local Food Purchasing
Mason Dining is committed to purchasing locally sourced products – defined as grown, raised, or produced within 250 miles of the GMU campus. Below are some of our achievements to date.
100% of our milk is sourced locally from Harrisburg Dairies in PA
We serve local, raw honey from Hungry Hill Farms, VA
For our dining halls we buy a variety of local produce based on seasonal availability from Keany Produce, a local produce company located only 35 miles away in Landover, Maryland.
Locally sourced produce is served daily in the resident dining halls and worked into seasonal menus designed by each unit’s Executive Chef. Customers can identify locally sourced items by checking a weekly list in resident dining facilities.
Mason Dining is dedicated to bringing fresh and locally grown produce to our dining halls. In an effort to reach this goal Mason Dining just added two new Urban Cultivator growing machines – one at Southside and the other at Ike’s.
The Urban Cultivator is a fully automated kitchen garden that grows organic herbs, vegetables, and micro greens while reducing our carbon footprint. No chemicals are used during the growing process. Once the greens have grown they can be harvested from the Cultivator and served strait to the students. Greens grown in the Urban Cultivator are completely organic and have zero food miles!
Southside and Ike’s will use the Urban Cultivators to grow fresh herbs and vegetables. We are currently growing kale, cilantro, sugar pees, komatsuna, basil, pepper arugula, broccoli, and spicy radish.
For more information on the Urban Cultivator click here. (here will be a link to the websit
For more information on the Urban Cultivator click Here
Real Food Challenge
Mason Dining has partnered with the Real Food Challenge, a national organization that helps colleges and universities incorporate more “real food” into their dining programs – defined as
locally sourced, fairly produced (Fair Trade certified or Rainforest Alliance), humane (cage free eggs and meat that is raised without antibiotics or growth hormones), and/or ecologically sound (organic).
To learn more about the Real Food Challenge, visit:
And to get involved with the Mason Real Food student group, email email@example.com
Southside dining’s salad bar is now serving lettuce from Zeponic Farms, a local hydroponic farm Located only 15 miles away from campus in Woodbridge, Virginia. Zeponic Farms empowers the special needs community by employing two students from the Mason LIFE program, which provides students with disabilities a supportive academic environment here on campus as well as internship opportunities.
Read more about Zeponic Farms and their partnership with Mason Dining and Mason LIFE in The Washington Post article, “This farm in a shipping container is more than just a source of local produce”. For link click Here
To learn more about Zeponic Farms, visit their website at http://www.zeponicfarms.com/
and their video at