We are excited to welcome our new Director of The Campus Kitchens Project, Dan Abrams. As student volunteers across the country are kicking off an exciting fall semester of impact, our new leader is eager to bring his energy and expertise to our growing national network!
Before joining The Campus Kitchens Project, Dan served as the Director of Earth Day where he was a lead organizer for the March for Science event in DC, drawing over 150,000 supporters taking a public stand for evidence based policy-making.
Prior to that, Dan worked in various roles at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While at EPA, Dan worked on critical administration activities including the Agency’s response to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the roll-out of the United States’ Climate Action Plan and Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first regulations targeting carbon dioxide.
Dan’s obsession with eliminating wasted food began during his time at EPA. In the summer of 2015, Dan successfully pitched John Oliver’s team to create a featured segment on the topic, earning millions of views and moving the problem of food waste to a national conversation.
Dan got his start organizing on his college campus as an undergrad at Northeastern University. While there, Dan helped lead the environmental group and was the communications director for a Massachusetts state-wide non-violent direct-action campaign by students to support renewable energy. In his final year, Dan created a program called Trash2Treasure, to save useful objects from the landfill during move-out season and sell them back in a garage sale the following fall. Now a signature program at the University, Trash2Tresure earns thousands of dollars for student programming annually.
“I am thrilled to join this incredible team at The Campus Kitchens Project,” said Dan. “Wasted food is a disaster for the environment and the economy. I look forward to working with college students across the country to develop programs to transform would-be-wasted food into meals for individuals and communities in need.”
From everyone at The Campus Kitchens Project, and our family at DC Central Kitchen, we happily welcome Dan to the team!
As their time with us winds down, we sat down with three of our AmeriCorps VISTAs, Eirann, Sarah, and Emily to reflect on their service year with us.
What brought you to CKP?
Eirann: I was interested in and involved with sustainable food and anti-hunger initiatives throughout college. I realized the tremendous potential that college students have in shaping and influence the anti-hunger movement and I was eager to take a VISTA position with CKP so that I could continue to be a force in the movement, even beyond my college years. I was excited to immerse myself even deeper in the cause and learn more about the non-profit sector, while using my past experiences to influence change.
Sarah: After working as a client manager at a corporate insurance firm, I was searching for a position where I could transition into the non-profit sphere and focus on food justice issues. I have lived in the Chicago area for 15 years, so I was excited to be able to learn more about and serve my own community.
Emily: After I finished my Undergraduate degree I knew I wanted to have some job experience under my belt before starting graduate school. As I was applying for jobs I knew that I wanted to be part of an organization whose missions were aligned with my own. Once I came across the opening at Campus Kitchens I immediately applied, knowing that this would be a good fit.
Where are you headed next?
Eirann: Next year I’ll be living in Paris, obtaining a graduate degree in French through Middlebury College.
Sarah: Either pursue a graduate degree in food policy or move on to another anti-hunger non-profit.
Emily: I’m heading to Europe for a backpacking trip and then applying to jobs in the public sector.
How has CKP impacted your future career?
Eirann: I hope to one day do translation work for a non-profit or NGO in the environmental sector. My time spent with CKP has given me a valuable look into the non-profit world and has provided numerous opportunities to network in the field.
Sarah: Working with CKP in a VISTA capacity has served as a “non-profit boot camp” year for me. I have gained skills in developing and implementing new programs, recruiting and managing volunteers, and researching and creating community resources. It has been an incredibly dynamic experience that has reinforced my career path of working with anti-hunger groups.
Emily: I’m sure that the work I have completed with CKP has influenced me in ways beyond my recognition. CKP has solidified my passion for working with the public in ways that impact their health and wellbeing.
What has been your favorite part of working with CKP?
Eirann: It’s been inspiring to see all of the different angles from which CKP and CKP’s partner institutions combat hunger. By researching the various tactics and strategies that different organizations use, I’ve been able to learn a lot about crafting campaigns and initiatives, and I’ve been able to understand various aspects of the anti-hunger movement in a much deeper manner.
Sarah: My favorite part has been helping our student leadership team to broaden their perspective beyond campus and identify strengths and needs in our community. I have really enjoyed working with them to recruit volunteers and implement nutrition education programs.
Emily: My favorite part of working for CKP has been all the opportunities to meet individuals who have like-minded interests and new perspectives.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Eirann: Trying to facilitate communication between the entire Campus Kitchen VISTA network and finding ways to work together while not in the same location. Also, creating an open channel to share resources throughout the network and not duplicate efforts.
Sarah: The hardest part of my VISTA year was my inability to pilot our new Healthy Living for Families curriculum. While I didn’t find a site that worked for the program, I am very proud of the resources we developed and am excited to leave the new cohort of VISTAs well-equipped to continue our work.
Emily: Doing multiple projects at once!
What projects or curricula have you worked on?
Eirann: I wrote a guide for Campus Kitchens which addresses how they can work with community farmers markets to accept SNAP benefits. I have also compiled a food donation and food use best practice guide, with an accompanying cookbook. Additionally, I worked on writing a new culinary based nutrition education curriculum targeted at families, with Sarah Benedict, the VISTA at CKNU.
Sarah: My two main focuses this year were on nutrition education and SNAP outreach. I personally developed new nutrition education resources for elementary and middle school youth and collaborate on a new program for families with the VISTA in DC. I analyzed the results of our annual client agency survey to develop SNAP and SNAP E&T resources tailored to the needs of their clients.
Emily: I have worked on various projects that address topics, including garden education, SNAP education, nutrition education, volunteer management, volunteer training, volunteer recruitment, updating technologies/practices, management of interns, trainings/orientations, and creating guides.
What was the most surprising part?
Eirann: It is truly impressive that CKP has such an enormous impact despite having so few staff members. This speaks not only to the talented staff’s immense passion for their work, but also to the tremendous power that the students have in affection local and national change. While this isn’t necessarily a surprise, it is still a happy revelation!
Sarah: The biggest surprise, and one of my favorite aspects, has been the connectivity of the national staff. While there are only two individuals in our office at CKNU, weekly check in calls and regular communication with CKP staff and VISTAs in DC, Boston, and Milwaukee have helped to foster collaborative projects and root our work in a broader context.
Emily: Never a dull day at the office!
Interested in joining AmeriCorps? Learn more here.
In January, we set five #ckpresolutions for 2017. Now that we are halfway through the year, we wanted to check in and see how we’re doing with those goals! June is also a perfect time to reflect on your academic year and the goals you set. Share them with us using #ckpresolutions.
1) Grow our community
We were excited to launch five new Campus Kitchens this spring including Shenandoah University, Williams College, Austin Peay State University, James Madison University and our second community college, NorthWest Arkansas Community College. Do you know someone who is interested in starting a Campus Kitchen at their school? Connect them with us today! We have a launch grant competition coming up this fall that is a perfect way to get a new Campus Kitchen up and running!
2) Fight On-Campus Hunger
As part of our partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and Universities Fighting World Hunger, we created the Trash Hunger, Not Food toolkit. This toolkit will to not only better equip you as a food waste champion, but also to help you mobilize your school to become a hunger-free campus. Another great resource is from our friends at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and their latest publication: Hungry and Homeless: Results From a National Study of Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education. They also created a Guide to Assessing Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education to help you take action on your campus. On-campus hunger continues to be a focus of ours and we plan on rolling out additional resources over the next year.
3) Make the 2017 Food Waste & Hunger Summit Our Biggest and Best Yet!
All we can say about this #ckpresolution is thank you! We had a great time at Summit Squared and hope you did too. Weren’t able to attend? Catch up on all the highlights here!
4) Recover Our 7 Millionth Pound of Food
We are well on our way to hitting the 7-Million-pound mark and surpassing it! As of June 5, we have recovered over 6,880,000 pounds of food at more than 60 locations. This year alone, with the help of over 31,000 volunteer hours, we have recovered 390,417 pounds of food and served 152,240 meals. Keep up the great work, #hungerfighters!
5) Build and Grow our Community through the Campus Kitchen Center
We have over 150 schools on the Center, including both current schools and planning schools! This summer, we’ll be rolling out some exciting new updates on The Center, so now is a great time to log on and take a look around. Plus, all points will be reset this summer! Cash your points in for prizes now! Do you have ideas or suggestions for the Center? Feel free to share them with us by e-mailing Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last fall, a team at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) saw a need in their community and were looking for ways to reduce food waste and food insecurity. With five training kitchens, passionate culinary students and willing staff, it made perfect sense to bring a Campus Kitchen to NWACC. The opportunity that CKP provides for connections between the school and community stood out to the faculty and staff at NWACC and Brightwater Culinary School.
“We are so excited to bring all the amazing things people are already doing in the Northwest Arkansas area together through the Campus Kitchen at NorthWest Arkansas Community College,” said Lauren Altimont-Peiser, student adviser and food recovery project overseer for Brightwater. “Working with local nonprofits, volunteers, and businesses that are passionate about helping people makes this project extremely dynamic. We can’t wait to see how it will evolve and grow from here.”
The Campus Kitchen at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (CKNWACC) joined our national network this week with a volunteer cooking shift and celebration lunch. Volunteers prepared approximately 80 healthy meals using recovered food from Seeds that Feed, the Downtown Rogers Farmers Market, and Tricycle Farms, and delivered them to three income-based senior housing centers in Northwest Arkansas. This event also kicked off CKNWACC’s partnership with Copia, a technology that will provide food waste tracking analytics and enhanced tax deductions for donors, enhancing the efficiency of food recovery in Northwest Arkansas.
With the launch of the program, NWACC will become the second community college to join our national network of over 60 schools. CKNWACC will partner with the NWACC Food Pantry, which serves students, faculty and staff, throughout the year by delivering recovered food from weekly culinary classes at Brightwater. CKNWACC will also deliver a hot lunch to the Samaritan Community Center and serve dinners at the local Salvation Army.
Sponsored by the Food Studies and Student Life departments, CKNWACC will work on both the NWACC and Brightwater campuses. They will recover prepared food from Brightwater Culinary School and deliver it to Samaritan Community Center, the local Salvation Army, and the NWACC Food Pantry once a week. CKNWACC will also prepare and serve a large community meal on Fridays with leftover ingredients from Brightwater Culinary School classes.
We are looking forward to seeing CKNWACC continue to grow on their campus and in their community. To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, check out our Campus Kitchen Planner.
Read more about the CKNWACC Launch Event here!
CKNU is hiring! If you’re passionate about ending hunger and food waste, eliminating food deserts, or any other food/hunger-related issue, we’ve got jobs for you!
AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate at Northwestern University
The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University is seeking an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate to assist SFSP sites in serving meals, which includes food resourcing, food preparation, meal assembly, delivery, counting meals, set-up and clean-up, food safety record keeping, coordinating and/or leading enrichment activities, and other duties necessary for site to operate The VISTA will recruit, train, and manage volunteers to assist with summer operations and outreach programs and conduct outreach in targeted communities of low-income individuals for the Summer Food Service Program, SNAP, farmers’ markets, and/or nutrition education.
Summer Programs Assistant Coordinator at Northwestern University
Every summer, the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University expands its operations to include a Feeding our Future program that provides 20,000 meals to those who need it most in Evanston and the Chicago area. CKNU seeks a Summer Programs Assistant Coordinator for Summer 2017. Along with our summer team, this position will assist in managing our Feeding our Future operations. The assistant coordinator will help manage our daily summer operations including meal prep, food recovery, meal delivery, and record keeping. They will be assisting in inventory procurement and management. They will have the opportunity to assist with nutrition education classes as well as plan volunteer recruitment events and host volunteer orientation and training sessions. This will include reaching out to and working closely with organizations in the community.
Last week, we welcomed the Campus Kitchen at James Madison University (CKJMU) to our national network of over 60 schools. Located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, CKJMU won our launch grant video competition, sponsored by CoBank, earning over 3,200 votes from students, alumni, school staff and supporters in just one week. Leading up to the grant competition, the CKJMU leadership team established relationships with partners on and off campus including the office of Dietetics, the local Salvation Army and JMU’s dining services provider, Aramark.
CKJMU will recover unserved leftover food each week from the dining hall, transport the food in insulated bags to the freezer in the Dietetics kitchen lab and then plan and cook a meal to be served at the Salvation Army. CKJMU served their first meal in March, which included soup, pulled pork, pea hummus and salad, all made from recovered food. They have already recovered over 200 pounds of food and have served over 165 meals.
While they were preparing to launch, the leadership team visited the Campus Kitchen at Virginia Tech and the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University for site visits and training. If that wasn’t keeping the leadership team busy enough, they also spent time volunteering with local organizations including “Our Community Place”, “Open Doors”, a traveling homeless shelter, and recovered food from local farmers markets for the Salvation Army.
For CKJMU’s official launch last week, they partnered with LovePacks, a program that sends home non-perishable food with local elementary school students, to hold a pop-up event on the JMU campus. Not only was this an opportunity for peers, faculty, staff and community partners to support LovePacks, but it was also a chance for them to learn about the new Campus Kitchen at James Madison University. Coordinated by CKJMU’s leadership team, this event brought together more than 100 volunteers and packed over 100 backpacks.
We are excited to have CKJMU join our network and look forward to seeing their program continue to grow. To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, check out our Campus Kitchen Planner.
The Campus Kitchens Project is excited to welcome Austin Peay State University to our national network of over 60 schools. The Campus Kitchen at Austin Peay State University (CKAPSU) is focused on fighting food insecurity within their community both on and off campus in Clarksville, Tennessee.
The Campus Kitchen at Austin Peay State University was one of three schools to win our fall launch grant video competition, sponsored by CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. In one week, Austin Peay received over 2600 votes from students, alumni, faculty, staff and school supporters to help them finish in third place.
With support from the school’s dining services provider, Chartwells, the Campus Kitchen at Austin Peay State University will recover food from “The Tree of Life Center”, an organic market and wellness center in Clarksville, every other month and from Loaves and Fishes on an as-needed basis. The Campus Kitchen will then cook and serve weekly meals at the local Salvation Army for the Youth Character Building program. CKAPSU also has plans to use a small garden space on campus to grow fresh produce and herbs to add to their meals.
“Creating a Campus Kitchen has provided a great opportunity to not only reach those in need, but also teach others about the right to healthy living” said Crystal Brinkley, an AmeriCorps VISTA and the CKAPSU coordinator.
Our own Jenny Bird was at Austin Peay State University for their launch event which included a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement and a food prep and delivery to the local Salvation Army.
To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, check out our Campus Kitchen Planner.
From March 24-25, over 300 hunger fighters gathered at Walsh University for Summit Squared. Summit Squared combined The Campus Kitchens Project’s annual Food Waste & Hunger Summit with the Universities Fighting World Hunger Annual Summit. Attendees enjoyed two days packed with learning about advocacy, service and leadership. If you missed it, check out #summitsquared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get a glimpse of the excitement and energy building in this movement. You can also see photos from Summit Squared here!
Partners, Co-Conveners and Host
Summit Squared was an incredible success, but wouldn’t have been possible without our co-conveners, Universities Fighting World Hunger, our partners, including The Rockefeller Foundation, The J.M Smucker Company, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, AARP Foundation and CoBank, or our fantastic host, Walsh University. We absolutely met our 2017 #ckpresolution to make this year’s Summit bigger and better than ever!
Trash Hunger, Not Food Toolkit
We were excited to unveil the Trash Hunger, Not Food Toolkit at Summit Squared! With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, The Campus Kitchens Project and Universities Fighting World Hunger created this toolkit to not only better equip you as a food waste champion, but also to help you mobilize your school to become a hunger-free campus. You can download your own copy of the toolkit at www.campusfoodwaste.org. Plus, don’t miss the video, media kit, and a sample workshop that you can bring back to your campus!
We had an incredible line-up of featured speakers including Joel Berg, Ambassador Tony Hall, Lisa Marsh Ryerson, Roger Thurow and Alexander Moore. Each one brought their own unique message, by focusing on how we can go even further in our work to end hunger. Lisa Marsh Ryerson also shared the news of AARP Foundation’s renewed and expanded support for the work of The Campus Kitchens Project. Recordings of all the featured speakers will be posted shortly, so check back soon!
One new way for attendees to take action during Summit Squared was at our Paper Plate Advocacy Table. Attendees composed short messages to their elected officials on a paper plate sharing why hunger matters to them. It was great to see everyone being so creative with their plates and we’re sure that they will make an impact on all the elected officials they get sent to.
One of our favorite aspects of the Food Waste & Summit is the Awards dinner, where we present the CKP Awards! This year was no exception and you can read all about the winners here. We had the chance to recognize many of our fantastic students, and several Campus Kitchens that have achieved incredible impact over the past year.
We couldn’t have asked for a better line-up of breakout sessions this year! We had over 25 different sessions focused on several themes including Advocacy & Storytelling, Deepening Your Knowledge, Expanding Access-On Campus & Beyond, Global Perspectives, Maximizing Your Impact, Resources for Food Recovery and Understanding Stakeholders. There were also some familiar faces leading breakout sessions including Alex Moore, one of our former VISTAs, Andrea Lindsay!
Summit Squared App
This year, attendees were able to connect online using our Summit Squared App. Everyone was able to engage in conversations with fellow attendees, share what they were most looking forward to, and post photos of breakout sessions and featured speakers. We loved seeing all the great discussions about bringing ideas from Summit Squared back to their communities.
At the 2017 Food Waste & Hunger Summit, Campus Kitchens from around the country gathered to celebrate their accomplishments over the past year. Below are eight individuals and Campus Kitchens with awards acknowledging their commitment to fighting hunger and dedication to the Campus Kitchen network.
Community Impact Award – honors a Campus Kitchen that has made a measurable impact on food insecurity in their community, and has put in the effort to track their outcomes.
The Campus Kitchen at the University of Georgia
CKUGA leads the way in program evaluation, measuring the impact of their work. Last fall, they realized many of their older adult clients struggled with issues beyond hunger, including lack of mobility. They decided to develop a survey to evaluate the prevalence of these issues, distributing the surveys at a community meal. They asked questions about food insecurity, the ability to perform housework, and social isolation over the holidays. The surveys they received back allowed them to understand their clients’ needs in a new way, and come up with a plan to address them. They also do a fantastic job of evaluating the results of their Lunch Buddy Program, which has demonstrated that 90% of their clients feel less isolated as a result of the program.
In addition, this Campus Kitchen has recently been selected to receive a $50,000 subgrant, sponsored by AARP Foundation, to develop evaluation resources and help all of our Campus Kitchens effectively measure the impact that their work has on senior hunger.
This Campus Kitchen takes the work they do seriously. They are not content to simply run a program for its own sake, but endeavor to understand the results they are having, with the aim of delivering the maximum impact for their clients.
Harvester – awarded to a student who has brought cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills to their Campus Kitchen.
Carson Bell, The Campus Kitchen at the University of Florida
Carson Bell is a Sustainability Studies Major who has brought her program new life. When she joined the Leadership Team in 2015 the program was struggling with a small LT and a lack of strong leadership. She realized the potential the program had to address hunger in their community. Under her leadership, she was able to bring energy and purpose to the Leadership Team meetings and recruit new volunteers.
Strong leadership was not the only issue this program was facing. They desperately needed to develop new partnerships to obtain food donations. She was able to secure regular donations from Greek organizations, restaurants, and on-campus dining services. Her organizational skills, her ability to rally the student volunteers around the purpose the Campus Kitchen, and the ability to face challenges with perseverance have been impressive.
Nopalitos Award – goes to the Campus Kitchen who never faltered in the face of adversity and instead rose to every challenge and took every difficulty in stride.
The Campus Kitchen at Augsburg
We never cease to be amazed by the hard work and creativity that Campus Kitchen leaders invest in their work. Last month at CKAC, the University’s main dining hall kitchen–where the students prepare meals–had a small fire. As a result, they did not receive food donations, nor did they have space on campus to cook. They called on their connections in the neighborhood and reached out to other campuses, and were able to get food donated once per week from a neighboring university, and use the kitchen at one of their client agencies. The shift leaders and volunteers did an incredible job getting food safely to the new cooking space, and turning it into delicious meals so that their service to their clients could go on. Through the process, they even made new partnerships for food sourcing that they plan to continue after they return to their regular routine. At a time when it would have been easy to give up, they overcame an unexpected difficulty with grace and a focus on providing uninterrupted service to those who depend on them.
CKP is hiring! If you’re passionate about ending hunger and food waste, eliminating food deserts, or any other food/hunger-related issue, we’ve got jobs for you! In partnership with Hunger Free America’s Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps, we are recruiting several year-long AmeriCorps VISTA positions at different Campus Kitchen locations and two summer associates. We are also looking for a summer intern in our DC office.