Published: Sept. 18, 2019
Boulder Farmers Market

CU Boulder is known for a few things: gorgeous views of the Flatirons, Buff pride and community efforts to be environmentally sustainable.

With 95% of students wanting to lower their carbon footprint (2017 campus sustainability survey), choosing locally sourced food can help. Our campus, and Boulder in general, offers plenty of quality food choices that make it easy to eat local. Here are some ways you can eat sustainably, both on and off campus.

Learn more about food and sustainability by visiting the Sustainable Buffs Food Guide.

Fresh greens and experimental recipes

For a true CU Boulder farm-to-table experience, visit the salad bar at the Village Dining Center in Williams Village. Fresh greens are grown right on campus at the Village Center Greenhouse, adjacent to the dining center. This state-of-the-art structure grows a variety of lettuces, with plans to expand crop types and sizes.

In addition to the large selection of organic, natural and local products used in all campus dining outlets, Campus Dining Services strives to provide creative, tasty and health-conscious food. One example of this is the experimentation with recipes to create delicious and sustainable menu items, like the blended mushroom-beef burger.  

Follow @CUBoulderLiving to learn about special events featuring locally sourced food throughout the year.

Local food beyond campus

Shopping for local items at the grocery store or farmers markets can help you save money, eat healthy and support the local economy. Most grocery stores have signs indicating which items are grown or produced locally or in Colorado.

The Boulder County Farmers Market is within walking distance to campus and is one of the best places to find fresh, seasonal food. Check it out on Wednesdays and Saturdays near Pearl Street, and review these tips before you go.

Earn PIPs

Did you know you could earn PIPs when you use reusable items at Alferd Packer Grill? Avoid the to-go containers and get 20 PIPs with your sustainable meal! Plus, take the Menus of Change trivia contest in the PIPs Rewards app and earn even more.

Redeem your PIPs for local and sustainable options or gift cards to the Flatiron Meal Plan, Whole Foods, Chipotle, Tokyo Joe’s and more!

Learn More

Consider plant-based options

As you look for locally sourced foods, both on and off campus, consider trying out some plant-based meals. According to Project Drawdown, eating plant-based meals and reducing food waste are the third and fourth most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions globally out of the top 100 solutions. 

For some affordable and healthy ideas, like spicy green beans and chocolate zucchini muffins, we recommend the many plant-based recipes in the free cookbook Good and Cheap or Meatless Monday recipes. Start with dishes that are traditionally meatless, like quiche, dahl, quinoa salad or caprese.

Including nut butters is a great way to make delicious, hearty plant-based snacks and meals. Even one day a week of plant-based meals has an impact!

Sustainable Buffs is a series brought to you by the Environmental Center. Learn more sustainability tips and ways to get involved at