Food and Dining

Edible CampusNIU’s Edible Campus program is designed to provide inclusive and sustainable access for our students and community members to nutritious food from edible gardens and landscaping situated throughout the campus. The gardens will be functional, educational, create awareness and include elements of modern technology along with providing an opportunity to build a connection between wellness and the environment. They will be used as a showcase for local high school horticulture and landscape design students along with NIU students, senior design projects and community volunteers. As a true community project, the gardens will feature areas that will grow food that highlights our local farms, orchards, and beekeepers by giving them opportunities to provide complementary elements, while helping to sustain the edible campus project for years to come.


  • Build a living learning laboratory that provides educational and practical opportunities for NIU students, local colleges, school children and the community geared around food systems.
  • Create a connection between health, wellness, and the environment in relation to our food systems.
  • Deliver positive environmental impacts directly related to campus sustainability via the food systems work done.
  • Reduce food security issues on and around campus for our students and the NIU community.


Anderson Hall

This large garden is located behind Anderson Hall, and is dedicated to intensive growing practices that showcase a true market garden and its capability to produce a high volume of nutritious food. You will find traditional 30-inch beds and a caterpillar tunnel along with some perennial beds for items such as strawberries, raspberries, and asparagus. This area is not part of the free to pick program, as all items that are grown here will be purchased by Campus Dining services, donated to the Huskie pantry, or used in the student meal prep program.

Founders Memorial Library

West side of the library building—there are numerous raised beds growing a multitude of vegetables and beneficial flowers. These beds are free to pick as fruits and vegetables become ripe. Please refrain from picking the flowers.

Northeast corner of the library—raised beds are managed by the NIU STEAM youth camps. These beds are also free to pick as fruits and vegetables become ripe. Please refrain from picking the flowers.

Stevens Building

Here you will find a number of raised beds that are dedicated to the Environmental studies program students that are studying sustainable food systems.

A large in-ground bed is managed by First Nation’s Native Alliance and represents indigenous cropping systems from the Midwest.


Meal Prep Program

This program is aimed at giving students the opportunity to utilize some of the fresh food items grown in the Anderson market garden along with other ingredients to prep meals for use during the week. This program will be offered one day a week in partnership with the School of Nutrition and Dietetics. Facilitated in the nutrition kitchens on the 3rd floor of Wirtz hall, students will be coached through meal prepping techniques and tips to produce healthy meals for later use. (Beginning fall 2023)

Volunteer Opportunities

Please email to learn more about how to help.

Program Partners

For collaborative opportunities or questions about the program please email


  • Office of Innovation
  • Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development
  • Campus Sustainability
  • Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy
  • Campus Dining Services
  • School of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Pick Museum


  • Local high school horticulture programs will be growing seedlings from the seeds donated by Ball Seed
    • Dekalb
    • Sycamore
    • Rochelle
    • Kaneland
  • Ball Seed Company – Seed donation
  • Gordon Hardware – Equipment donation
  • Garden Prairie Organics – Compost donation
  • Innovative Growers Equipment – Donated aeroponic towers for year round growing
  • Feeding Illinois – Donated raised beds
  • Dekalb County Community Gardens
  • Northern Illinois Beekeepers Association
  • Midwest Permaculture
  • Illinois Farm Bureau
  • Midwest ground covers
  • Mighty Greens Farm
  • Jonomac Orchard
  • Illinois Extension
    • Master Gardener program
  • Proven Winners
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