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Michigan State


MSU is committed to supporting a sustainable and healthy food system. Food comes to campus in a variety of ways, but the most influential factor in the university food system is Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS).


Residential and Hospitality Services

The RHS food network encompasses Culinary Services Residential Dining, retail locations and an on-campus food truck, Central Warehousing, MSU Bakers and the Spartan Hospitality Group, which includes the Kellogg Center, the State Room restaurant and Spartan Signature Catering. RHS provides approximately 35,000 meals per day in 10 dining halls on campus and houses 14,500 students during the regular academic year.

RHS is working to reduce the university’s environmental footprint and close the loop on a sustainable food cycle through programs and partnerships. The RHS Sustainable Food Procurement Guide (PDF) outlines existing and potential supply chain partners as MSU strives to make increasingly responsible choices in food service sourcing.

A photo featuring students in the Residential Initiative for the Study of the Environment (RISE) program working in the Bailey GREENhouse.

Bailey GREENhouse

The Bailey GREENhouse is one of MSU’s many hoop houses, or unheated passive solar greenhouses, used to help farmers extend the growing season and increase, vegetable, fruit and herb production. This urban garden is staffed by students in the Residential Initiative for the Study of the Environment (RISE) program who supply herbs and greens to campus dining facilities. In addition to providing campus with home-grown herbs, the GREENhouse provides an opportunity to experience a sustainable food cycle first-hand — as the plants are grown in soil with composted pre-consumer food waste from Brody Square.

In this photo, we get a close-up view of vermicomposting, as a student cups a handful of worms and soil.


Composting, or speeding up the decomposition process of organic materials, is an essential practice for the university because it closes the campus food cycle loop. Currently, compost at MSU is produced via:

  • Anaerobic digesting: The South Campus Anaerobic Digester converts organic waste from MSU’s farms and dining halls into methane gas. The methane, a renewable energy source, is used to produce electricity for some of the buildings on MSU’s south campus. Solid materials that are left over after digestion are used in compost mixtures.
  • Traditional “hot” composting: Pre-consumer food waste is gathered from the dining halls on campus and transported to the Student Organic Farm for traditional composting.
  • Vermicomposting: Worms digest food scraps and turn the material into worm castings, which are full of nutrients and micro-organisms that are beneficial for growing plants.

If you are interested in composting on campus, MSU Recycling’s Compost Club is an organic waste management service provided to on-campus departments.