Joe's Café Showcases Penn's Sustainability Attainability

January 20, 2011

oe’s Café, a new eatery located on the ground floor of the Wharton School’s Steinberg Hall - Dietrich Hall is the quintessential example of the University’s green efforts: a campus venue built to achieve a LEED gold designation for its commercial interior renovation, food-service practices, recycling, composting and chemical-free cleaning methods.

Joe’s, named for Joseph Wharton, founder of Penn’s business school, opened in December and supports the University’s Climate Action Plan with its application of best practices in waste reduction, and energy conservation, and green building methods.

The Café will:

  • Recycle or compost 50 percent by volume of its waste, including but not limited to food scraps, utensils, takeout containers and fryer oil.  It is an amount that is twice the current total campus baseline of 24 percent.
  • Purchase food and drink that is produced seasonally and within 150 miles of the site, as well as hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and dairy, vegetarian-fed beef, Certified Humane eggs, fish sourced using the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines, dolphin-safe tuna and Fair Trade and Certified Organic coffee.
  • Prepare entrees, sauces, salads, roasted meats, stocks, baked goods and vegetables daily from scratch.
  • Serve entrees with portion control in mind and have vegetarian options available.
  • Not use trans fats, peanut oil or MSG.

An educational program on sustainable food and café operations is planned that will enlist school staff and students to engage and teach café visitors.  This program will also work to ensure correct composting and recycling procedures. Events will be held in the café that promote sustainable food production and consumption.

Click here for some behind the scenes footage at Joe's Café.


The Penn Environmental Group hosts GreenFest each semester, a campus-wide environmental festival.

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