Joe’s Café Showcases Penn’s Sustainability Attainability

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | | 215-898-1422December 17, 2010

PHILADELPHIA –- Sometimes, it just all comes together.

Joe’s Café, a new eatery located on the ground floor of the Wharton School’s Steinberg-Dietrich Hall on the University of Pennsylvania campus 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.

It replaces a smaller café that closed in 2009.

Joe’s, named for Joseph Wharton, founder of the Penn business school, opened last week, but it was conceived when Penn launched its Climate Action Plan in 2009.  That plan outlines strategies to reduce the University’s carbon footprint, including incorporating green building methods, increasing recycling and decreasing waste output and energy use.

 Joe’s does all that and more.  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.  The school also plans to hold events in the café that promote sustainable food production and consumption.