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If you are interested in working at a farm, please visit VOLUNTEER KSU and include your information or by calling VKSU at 770.423.6443

Sustainable Practices

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Sustainability and Locally Sourced Ingredients

The Commons incorporates a variety of sustainable operations including an on-site 1,200 square foot herb garden, single stream recycling and large-scale composting! A shiitake mushroom garden (located at the farm) supplies fresh mushrooms and our in-house gristmill grinds fresh grits and cornmeal. Culinary and Hospitality’s commitment to providing a sustainably sound dining operation is changing the face of campus dining, with Bestcolleges.com awarding us the #2 Best College Dining Hall for 2016.

From the Farm to the Campus

Launched in May 2010, our Farm-to-Campus Program is a true highlight of the sustainable dining program here at KSU. Initially operating on only two acres, KSU expanded the program in 2011 to include a second, 40-acre property with 4,000 square feet of greenhouse space and a 42-colony apiary that provides honey to campus. In 2013, the farm-to-campus program further expanded to our current Hickory Grove Farm. The new farm has 14 plantable acres, one high-tunnel, one 3,600 square foot hydroponic house, and 60+ free-range chickens that produce more than 200 eggs a week for use in recipes. Hickory Grove Farm is now one of our main sources for our locally sourced ingredients, including 15 new apiaries that have begun producing honey!

Fresh from the farm, straight to KSU


Hickory Grove Farm

Hickory Grove Facts
2015-2016 growing season:
• Shiitake Mushroom garden: With 20 logs inoculated with shiitake mushroom spores, KSU expects to produce three varieties of shiitake mushrooms over the next five years
• 1,000 heirloom tomato plants producing more than 20,000 lbs. of tomatoes
• 60+ free-range hens
• 15 apiaries



  • Stingers at Marietta and The Commons at Kennesaw will feature hydroponic units throughout each dining facility. “Hydroponics” refers to the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients and without soil.
  • The hydroponic growing process consists of three steps: germination, propagation, and cultivation.
  • The hydroponic systemwill produce organically grown herbs on-site (free of pesticides and herbicides) for use in each dining hall.
  • This method of growing is up to three-times faster than conventional growing methods by creating a growing environment specific to each varieties’ water, light, and nutrient needs.


The Kennesaw State University Farmer’s Market was created to offer the KSU community the opportunity to purchase fresh, local and organically grown produce, products and goods from local farmers, growers, businesses and artisans.

Our purpose is to provide support for health growing practices, strengthen the local economy, encourage healthy lifestyles, educate the KSU community on sustainable agriculture, and support the overall sustainability efforts at Kennesaw State University.

  • Organized by the KSU Culinary and Hospitality Services department, the KSU farmer’s market is held each spring and fall semester at both the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses.
  • The Kennesaw campus market is located on the Campus Green and at the Marietta campus along Legacy Walk next to Stingers.
  • The market is held Tuesdays at Marietta on the Legacy Walk (in front of Stingers) from 11am-3pm, and Wednesdays at Kennesaw on the Campus Green from 11am-3pm.


Culinary and Hospitality Services has developed an innovative, comprehensive waste management initiative that is unparalleled in the collegiate foodservice industry. The Farm-to-Campus-to-Farm program is a closed‐loop, comprehensive program that incorporates industry‐leading sustainable practices into the University’s dining operation. The implementation of this program has improved the University’s “triple bottom line” through minimized environmental impact, reduced costs, and the creation of a framework for environmental stewardship.

The comprehensive waste management program includes:

  • Composting
  • Vermiculture/Vermicomposting
  • Rainwater reclamation
  • Recycling program for glass, plastic, cardboard, metal and aluminum cans, even used cooking oil for biodiesel conversion (The Commonsalso recycles more than 6,000 pounds of cardboard each month!)
  • Organic waste is collected in single steam bins that generate 3,000 pounds of additional compostable waste.

Food Recovery Partnerships

Through a collaboration with Chartwells at KSU, Food Connection, First Presbyterian Marietta and Must Ministries, KSU donates ready-to eat food to community members struggling with food insecurity.

  • Prepared, nutritious food that would have gone to waste is recovered after lunch and dinner services.
  • The food is then packaged, weighed and donated to Must Ministries to be distributed to individuals in need.
  • This results in up to 125-150 meals, or 200-250 lbs. of food, being diverted from landfills on a daily basis.
All of these initiatives result in the diversion of more than 43,800 pounds of waste from the landfill each month!