's rooftop terrace is a garden of planter boxes of herbs and tomatoes flourishing alongside cucumbers and sweet potatoes. Nearby, an apiary swarms with 30,000 bees harvesting honey.
"How local can we get?" asks Craig Robbins, director of dining services for Parkhurst Dining in Pittsburgh. "We're growing terrace lettuce 20 yards away."
Google is a global company, but it depends on the local growing community to stock the company's five micro-kitchens with vegetables, healthy snacks, organic dairy and fruits for the more than 200 employees who eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on the job.
Not only is nearly everything locally grown, but the kitchen is working towards zero waste, says Lee Keener, executive chef.
"Pittsburgh is an important place for our food programs team because the office really sets the gold standard," says Katelin Todhunter-Gerberg, senior communications associate with Google. "The office boasts the highest local purchasing percentage in our entire company."
The poultry and beef is part of the “Never Ever” program, protein that has never been touched by antibiotics and hormones, and are humanely treated and humanely slaughtered.
Farms and vendors include: Logan Family Farms, Turner Dairy, Penn's Corner Farmer's Alliance, Laurel Hill Trout Farm, Red Ribbon Soda, Gluuteny (Pittsburgh’s Gluten Free Bakery) and Coffee Tree Roasters.
All food and oils are composted and recycled when possible, working with AgreCycle and ReFuel Pittsburgh. Surplus food is donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Foodbank.
Zero Waste Pittsburgh
and Duquesne University also conducted a study of the Google office to determine the chances of getting a food service facility to zero waste. Google was among the first to receive Zero Waste certification.
"We control everything we need to control" says Keener.
"Our goal is to provide the highest quality food we can, nutritionally balanced, authentically prepared, while encouraging employees to collaborate amongst each other and talk," adds Robbins.
Source: Lee Keener, Craig Robbins and Katelin Todhunter-Gerberg for Google