Education & Awareness

Students participate in a the Farm to Fork Cooking Series at the Teaching Kitchen @ Stanford

Engaging with the food we eat and grow offers us the opportunity to explore issues related to health, the environment, social equity and the global economy. The Sustainable Food Program supports the academic mission of the university and fosters this experiential learning in our dining halls and dorms, our organic teaching gardens, and the classroom by creating opportunities for students to experience agriculture and sustainability as integral parts of their education and everyday life. Below are some examples of how we bring this to life.

Academic Classes

The Sustainable Food Program actively collaborates with staff and faculty to provide educational opportunities to students and others on the Stanford campus. Through lectures, class projects, and collaborative coursework, we engage students in many topics relating to the food system.

Fall 2018: Will Work For Food is a new, 4 unit independent study course for juniors and seniors interested in diving deep into a problem in the food system. The course is taught with the FEED Collaborative in partnership with the Google Food Lab. 

2016-18: R&DE Stanford Dining’s Sustainable Food Program co-created and co-taught a new three unit course for undergraduates in the Earth Systems department and at the with the FEED Collaborative. EARTHSYS 148: Grow It. Cook It. Eat It.  An Experiential Exploration of How and Why We Eat What We Eat focuses on teaching students about sustainable food, design thinking to solve problems, growing food, and cooking food. 

Academic Class Projects, Thesis, and Capstone Project Support 

Stanford Dining staff support students in over 25 class and capstone projects and guest lectures each year in classes across multiple disciplines such as: The Global Warming Paradox; Design for Extreme Affordability; Science and Environmental Education in Informal Contexts; Social Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, and Society: Food and Society; and Sustaining Action: Research, Analysis.


Guest Lectures

R&DE staff give multiple guest lectures a year in classes, including Food and Society: Exploring Eating Behaviors in Social, Environmental, and Policy Context, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems, and Sustainable Agriculture and Local Food Systems.



The Sustainable Food Program publishes a monthly Sustainable Food Newsletter. Sign up for the Sustainable Food Newsletter here:


Organic Teaching Gardens

R&DE Stanford Dining has 12 organic Teaching Gardens. Stanford Dining also has a greenhouse in Arrillaga Family Dining Commons that grows microgreens and hydroponic towers in Florence Moore Dining.  The R&DE Stanford Dining organic teaching gardens offer multiple work days a week in addition to workshops to teach students how to grow their own produce. Sign up for our newsletter to find out about upcoming garden work days.



Internships in all of our programs allow us to work with students for one to four years, giving them hands-on education about all topics in food. Email if you are interested in an internship. 


Dorm and Dining Hall Education

Events done in the dorms and dining halls bring food education to students in their homes, often reaching those that are not as interested in food. Examples include garden work days, Fair Trade chocolate tastings, jam making, nutrition lectures, cooking classes in RF apartments, etc. Partnerships with themed dorms such as Roble, Branner, and SLE have been really successful. And we are excited to be launching a new partnership with Ng House this year. 


Seed Library

The Seed Library run by R&DE Stanford Dining gives students and the Stanford community free seeds each month that they can plant at home or in the gardens by their dorms along with educational information on how to grow the plants and save the seeds. Over 1,600 members of the Stanford community have joined the Seed Library and 200 have joined the Seed-of-the-Month Club.


Know Your Food Lending Library

The 250+ book Know Your Food Lending Library in Arrillaga Family Dining Commons has cookbooks and books focused on sustainability and nutrition that are free to check out for the Stanford community.


Earth Day Dinner

To celebrate this internationally recognized day, Arrillaga Family Dining Commons hosts a special Earth Day dinner every year. To highlight R&DE Stanford Dining’s sustainable initiatives and earth-friendly practices, guests can explore resource tables with presentations from local farms and other sustainable purchasing partners.