For most Americans, the economic downturn widely known as the “Great Recession,” which began in 2007, feels much more recent than almost a decade old. Though unemployment is down, our economy is growing, and stocks have reached record highs, some 48 million Americans currently experiencing food insecurity may feel left behind.
In the years after the recession, the amount of American households experiencing food insecurity rose from 11% to almost 15%. This meant that families often didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. Obviously, this is problematic. Hungry workers are less efficient, hungry children are distracted in school, and hungry families become stressed and irritable, often relying on cheap, unhealthy food to keep their stomachs full. These things damper the ability of a society to succeed, holding the country back from reaching its full potential.
While the economy as a whole has recovered, many Americans have not reaped the benefits. Wages have remained stagnant for many workers, and levels of food insecurity have remained. Millions of Americans do not always know where their next meal will come from. Critics will say that the situation is improving, pointing out that enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which replaced food stamps, is down, dropping by 4.2 million people since 2012. Lower participation, however, does not always equate to progress.
Much of this reduction is driven by a variety of changes to SNAP eligibility requirements that are largely intended to get people out of the program, but not necessarily through reducing food insecurity. Several changes that have been implemented in different states include work requirements, stipulations stating a recipient of SNAP must be employed or in a job training program to receive benefits, time limits, where a recipient cannot receive benefits for longer than an allotted time (adults without dependents can only receive snap for three months every three years), and drug tests for individuals seeking benefits.
Unfortunately, while these changes may be palatable to politicians seeking to free up room in state budgets, they are ill founded. In hard economic times, when jobs may be hard to come by, requiring food insecure individuals to be employed creates a barrier preventing those that are suffering to get access to the resources they need. Furthermore, time limits can harm families that are experiencing long term unemployment and poverty, the very people who need help most. Finally, statistics have shown that drug testing potential recipients has almost no benefits, rarely finding anyone who tests positive. Missouri spent over $300,000 testing 40,000 welfare applicants, finding only 48 tested positive for drugs. Clearly, these developments are deeply flawed.
We need to ensure that those most in need are fed. How can we expect children to grow, workers to strive for better opportunities, and families to thrive if they are hungry and concerned with where their next meal comes from. Social programs can be reined in, but only if the problem they are meant to solve is declining as well. Even though the economy has shown signs of improving, support is still necessary to ensure that no one is left behind.
How pretty does your plate have to look? A report by National Resources Defense Council suggests that up to 24% of fruits and vegetables are discarded before even reaching the store – often due to imperfections in shape, size and color. An exact total is hard to come by, but research suggests that blemished or aesthetically imperfect food is a major driver of food waste. Indeed, the largest component of US landfills is wasted food. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the discarded food was composed of scraps and leftovers that have gone bad, but in many cases this food has never even reached consumers. Instead, it was rejected by producers because many retailers refuse to purchase produce that looks anything less than perfect.
All this waste takes a huge toll on producers who have no choice but to discard blemished food, or feed it to livestock instead of taking it to market. Misshapen potatoes and slightly scarred fruits are tossed aside because they simply will not sell. Farmers interviewed by The Guardian reported that throwing away or feeding livestock a quarter of their crops that don’t meet market standards for beauty is normal. One grower reported that they are able to fill a truck with 22,000 pounds of unsellable tomatoes every forty minutes during harvest. Sometimes, food is left to rot in the fields where it is grown. Even the most careful farmers have to throw away huge portions of their crop due to growing conditions and weather that distorts how the produce looks. The food is unmarketable, but completely edible.
Imperfect food that is thrown away greatly damages the environment. Water, land, and other inputs are wasted if the food is not eaten. Globally, it is estimated that 60 trillion gallons of water are wasted each year due to food waste. Furthermore, the fruits and vegetables that are disposed of in landfills or incinerators release methane, a greenhouse gas that traps significantly more heat than carbon dioxide. Indeed, food waste is responsible for 8% of global climate pollution, a higher percentage than most developed nations.
This is a huge problem. Perfectly nutritious and edible food, albeit potentially aesthetically displeasing, is wasted at the same time as some 48 million Americans are experiencing food insecurity. This waste could be easily leveraged as a resource to feed families that don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. The lack of access to a huge amount of perfectly edible food is a tremendous injustice.
A solution isn’t hard to imagine. Producers could sell their wares at a discounted rate to stores willing to sell imperfect produce. This would allow families to buy healthy food at cheaper prices, boosting both personal and community health and allowing them to stretch their budgets further. This solution would also help reduce food waste, aiding the environment by conserving resources and preventing the release of greenhouse gasses. Everyone stands to benefit. It’s a win-win-win.
Fortunately for us, consumers are beginning to realize the opportunity to reduce food waste and feed our nation by utilizing “ugly” produce. Social media campaigns have been launched to try and change the stigma around unattractive produce – letting people know that a small bruise or blemish doesn’t mean that a fruit is bad for you. In fact, there is some evidence indicating that marred fruit may have nutritional benefits that prettier products may lack. We need stores to start stocking imperfect produce. Doing so will help farmers, consumers, and the world. Some grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, have started selling imperfect produce in limited stores. Programs like these need to be expanded, and a greater range of food retailers need to take up the cause. Groceries will receive benefits as well. Stores in Europe that began selling imperfect fruits and vegetables see increased traffic and sales. For an industry that has thin profit margins, this could be a leg up over the competition. There is no good reason that so much food should go to waste. We need to embrace “Ugly” food, and in turn feed the world.
This twitter campaign is celebrates “ugly” produce! Look it up and post your own pictures celebrating imperfect fruits and veggies!
Where there is waste, there are opportunities to make and save money. Food waste is no exception.
Research done by ReFED, an organization that uses economic analysis to determine the viability of various solutions to food waste, indicates that there is around $10 billion of economic value to be gained from reducing food waste, as well as $1.9 billion in business profit potential. Many of these solutions are common sense, easily implemented fixes to our current food system. A few of the 28 methods ReFED recommends result in enormous financial benefits. These include:
- Standardized Date Labeling (Currently being discussed in Congress!)
- Consumer Education Campaigns
- Packaging Adjustment to Reduce Residual Waste
- Donation maximization Regulations and Liability Education
- Improved Cold Chain Management
- Produce Specifications (Accepting off-grade “ugly” produce)
Businesses and consumers serve to gain immensely from implementing broad changes to our food system. On the production side, reducing food waste would mean that money is not being used to produce and ship food that will not be sold or will go bad before reaching the market. For consumers, implementing changes ensure that their grocery budgets are not being wasted on food that passes passing an arbitrary “sell by” date or comes in sizes too large to be eaten in a reasonable amount of time before expiration.
Simply put, food waste has an environmental and social impact that is both inefficient and costly. It is not only necessary, but also most likely profitable for corporations and households to use a combination of the many solutions put forward by ReFED to reduce their food waste. For social-entrepreneurs interested in this issue, developing solutions may be an excellent opportunity to capitalize on this economic niche.
Corporations pursue efficiency relentlessly, seeking out ways to use technology and production techniques to cut costs and improve their operations. Households do too. From turning off the lights when leaving a room to controlling the thermostat, everyone is concerned about saving some money here and there by reducing waste. Why shouldn’t this thriftiness apply to food as well? There is certainly an enormous amount of money to be saved.
For more on the business aspect of food waste, check here.
It may come as a surprise to learn that livestock production is a major contributor to global emissions of greenhouse gasses. In fact, around 14 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission totals can be traced to the meat and dairy industry – this is roughly equivalent to the amount of GHG’s emitted from tailpipes of cars and trucks across the globe.
These staggeringly high emissions from livestock production are a result of a variety of factors. For example, more resources are required to produce livestock than any other crops. Higher amounts of feed, land, and shelter are needed to produce one pound of meat than one pound of grain. This is because animals require high amounts of feed in order to grow to sizes where they can be sent to market. Livestock also constantly emit gasses through the creation of manure – releasing high amounts of methane into the atmosphere. In fact, according to the FAO, livestock production accounts for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 53 percent of nitrous oxide emissions.
Recently, China has sought to reduce meat consumption by writing diet guidelines where meat products take up a smaller part of the plate. This is in part an effort to address a rise in obesity, diabetes, and other diet related illnesses in the country. It will also try to curb demand for meat in a country where consumption is expected to be triple that of the United States by 2030. If Chinese citizens follow the government’s dietary advice, global agricultural emissions would drop 12 percent as supply of meat falls with demand. Global totals would fall by 1.5 percent. This reduction would be roughly equivalent to the entire footprint of France and Belgium combined.
The impact of meat production on greenhouse gas emissions sheds light on the power we all have within our own diets. Shifting our tastes and preferences away from meat products (especially red meat) will not only have health benefits, but will also dramatically decrease ones environmental impact. It is not necessary to be a vegetarian to see benefits. Whittling down portions or giving up meat just one or two days a week can have an enormous impact on a person’s carbon footprint. There are many ways that households can address their environmental impact, from choosing what cars they drive to recycling and composting habits. Changing up one’s diet is an effective and potentially tasty way to make a difference.
For more information check out Vox’s article here.
2016 has seen the advent of two groundbreaking bills that seek to remedy one of the most pressing issues of our time, food waste. Sponsored by Chellie Pingree (D-ME), the Food Recovery Act and the Food Date Labeling Act seek to curb food waste and ensure that what cannot be curbed is rerouted into food recovery networks. Organizations like The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP), food policy advocates, and consumers at large stand to gain from such legislation.
The Food Recovery Act is a comprehensive piece of legislation that tries to combat food waste in several ways. It targets consumers, schools, farms, grocery stores, restaurants, and the federal government itself. Four must know pieces of the bill include:
- Awareness campaigns centered on informing people that current “sell-by” dates on food packaging are determined by manufacturer quality standards, and not scientific research.
- Expansion of current legislation giving tax deductions to businesses that donate food to organizations serving the food insecure (like Campus Kitchens!).
- Creation of an Office of Food Recovery dedicated to measuring food waste and implementing food recovery programs.
- Support of various food waste-to-energy programs such as those that turn food waste into biofuels.
The Food Date Labeling Act bolsters the strength of the Food Recovery Act. It seeks to create a uniform national date labeling system with the intention of preventing waste. Creating standards that unify the language and meaning of food labels will reduce confusion, simplify regulation, and boost efficiency in our food system. Consumers will be able to reduce food waste and curb spending on unused food. The bill also allows food to be sold after a quality date passes, allowing edible food to avoid the landfill, and instead ending up on consumer plates.
On Wednesday, May 25th, the House Agriculture Committee held its first full hearing concerning the two pieces of legislation, and CKP was in attendance. After the hearing, CKP joined other food recovery focused organizations like Misfit Juice, Food Recovery Network, MEANS database, and the US Department of Agriculture at the Food Waste Fair on the Hill. The Food Waste Fair helped educate hill staffers and congressmen and women on the issues of food waste and food insecurity. Many politicians were eager to learn more about the issues and what organizations do to prevent food waste.
We hope events like the Food Waste Fair will bring even more support from policy advocates for both bills. Incentivizing donations, understanding the nature of food waste, and preventing edible food from ending up in the landfill will not only improve food security but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions stemming from food waste. American consumers, as well as organizations like The Campus Kitchens Project can only benefit from their enactment.
-Jonah Mackay, CKP Summer Intern
For more information, visit Congressman Pingree’s web page.
To help end food waste on your college campus, learn how to start a Campus Kitchen here!
Just two short months ago, Westtown School participated in a national launch grant video competition to start their own Campus Kitchen. After rallying thousands of votes from their supporters and winning a $5,000 grant from AARP, the students and faculty at Westtown School have been working to finalize their planning.
Today, Westtown School joins CKP with the official launch of their own Campus Kitchen. The Campus Kitchen at Westtown School will become the 53rd Campus Kitchen – and the fourth high school – to join the national network.
With support from its self-operated dining services, the Campus Kitchen at Westtown will begin by conducting weekly food recovery shifts at the school cafeteria and delivering approximately 25 meals a week. The school’s nutritionist will provide monthly cooking demonstrations to meal recipients of healthy and easy recipes.
Westtown will deliver meals to CityTeam, a nonprofit providing food and social services to local residents in need. Students will also deliver meals to West Chester Area Senior Center, a local nonprofit that aids senior citizens. During the fall season, students plan to work with a local farmer to recover and deliver fresh produce and fresh fruit from on campus cherry trees, which will be planted during the Campus Kitchen launch event.
Matt Schnarr, CKP’s Expansion and Partnerships Manager is spending the next couple of days in Chester, PA sharing best practices and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to run an effective community-based organization. We’re thrilled to welcome the Campus Kitchen at Westtown to our growing network, as they help us prevent even more food from going to waste this year!
To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, check out our Campus Kitchen Planner.
In 2013, Fayetteville’s main grocery store closed, making the town one of the 171 food deserts in North Carolina. Recognizing the need for affordable and accessible food, FSU students started planning for a Campus Kitchen to serve low income families in the community. Earlier this year, students and faculty at FSU participated in our national launch grant video competition sponsored by CoBank. Students rallied supporters to vote for their video, helping them win a $5,000 grant to bring our program to their campus.
Today, Fayetteville State University joined CKP as the 52nd Campus Kitchen! FSU is the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in North Carolina and the second in the United States. The Campus Kitchen at Fayetteville State University (CKFSU) is the first HBCU to join the national network!
CKFSU is sponsored by the Department of Sociology within the College of Arts and Sciences. With support from dining service provider, Aramark, CKFSU will conduct food recovery shifts at on-campus cafeterias, as well as the Murchison Road Farmers Market, local restaurants, grocery stores, and community gardens.
Student volunteers will begin operations by delivering monthly meals and providing nutrition education to preschool children at the FSU Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC). CKFSU will conduct cooking shifts at the ECLC kitchen as well as on-campus dining services.
Olivia Rogine, CKP’s Community Development Coordinator is spending the next couple of days in Fayetteville, NC sharing best practices and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to run an effective community-based organization. We’re thrilled to welcome CKFSU to our growing network, as they help us prevent even more food from going to waste this year!
The votes are in, and we are thrilled to welcome four future Campus Kitchens! From May 2 to 9, Augustana College, Campbell University, Casper College, and the University of Nebraska, Omaha competed to see who could rally the most votes to win a grant sponsored by Sodexo Foundation to start their own Campus Kitchen.
Thousands of votes were cast from students, alumni, school staff and supporters. Each school ultimately won a grant to start their own Campus Kitchen. Check out the winners below to see their total votes and why these schools are starting a Campus Kitchen!
Campbell University – 4,572
Augustana College – 3,951
Casper College – 2,634
Campbell University, the school with the most votes, is excited to launch a Campus Kitchen so the students can help the 53% of residents in Harnett County that are battling with food insecurity.
The students at Augustana College are interested in starting a Campus Kitchen to help combat on campus hunger and provide fresh and affordable food to residents in their county, which is labeled as a food desert.
Casper College, our third place winner, recognizes the environmental impact of food waste and wants to use a Campus Kitchen to get that food into the community and away from the trash can.
Students at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, our final contestant, work with Youth Emergency Services (YES), which helps over 300 homeless youth every night in Omaha. These students know a Campus Kitchen could consistently provide food to YES and the homeless youth in their community.
While their reasons for wanting to start a Campus Kitchen may vary, these schools are all committed to ending hunger and food waste. Congratulations to our winners! We are so looking forward to adding new communities of hunger fighters to our growing network.
The four schools qualified for this competition through our online Campus Kitchen Planner, which provides step-by-step guidance in setting up our program. If you are interested in joining our hunger-fighting movement, check out our upcoming grant opportunities to learn how you can secure funding to bring this program to your campus.
From April 16-17, more than 250 hunger-fighters from around the country gathered at the University of Arkansas for the 2016 Food Waste & Hunger Summit. Attendees enjoyed a two-day conference filled with students and leaders from nonprofits, business, government & more discussing innovative solutions to food waste and hunger. Summit was jam packed with presentations, speakers, networking, and volunteering. In case you missed any of it, check out our 7 must knows from Summit!
- Secretary Vilsack. The Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, was the second keynote speaker at the Food Waste & Hunger Summit. Secretary Vilsack first discussed food waste and hunger policies in America and then spent most of the time conducting an informative Q&A with attendees. When asked how young people can engage with public figures, Sec. Vilsack encouraged the audience to never be intimidated to talk about the things they know just because they’re young and that #hungerfighters are the real experts, and government officials need to listen.
- Robert Egger’s f-bombs. We’re not joking. The Summit was kicked off by CKP’s very own founder, Robert Egger, with a few f-bombs and some incredibly inspiring notes on what it means to be a leader in the food waste and hunger movement. Robert energized the room and reminded the attendees of why they were there and why it’s so important to keep fighting food waste and hunger.
- Rebecca Vallas’ Reading List. Some of us might be out of the homework phase in our lives but that didn’t stop Center for American Progress’ Rebecca Vallas from dishing it out. Rebecca, the Managing Director for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at The Center for American Progress, kicked off Sunday morning with a captivating discussion on poverty, what inequality means in America, and how we can overcome it. Rebecca turned to numerous articles and books supporting her arguments for what it will take to reduce poverty in America. We’re working on getting the full reading list from Rebecca so make sure to check back soon!
- The Breakout Sessions. The 2016 Food Waste & Hunger Summit had 25 breakout sessions, across five breakout themes. Summit participants had the opportunity to join a variety of sessions about community gardening, farmers markets, program evaluation, and gleaning, some led by our own students. We can’t thank our speakers enough for their captivating presentations. You can view the presentation from each breakout session here.
- Campus Kitchen Award Winners. Every year, we honor the outstanding Campus Kitchens and stand-out student leaders in our network for their hard work and dedication to their community. This year, we celebrated eight Campus Kitchens for their achievements. Read the full list of award winners here and what makes them exemplary.
- The Feedback. We asked of all of our attendees to complete our post Summit survey so we can keep working to make this event better every year. We won’t give away too much of our future scheming but we got some great feedback! Our favorite quotes (among many) are below:
“Post-summit, I’m definitely feeling more inspired to work with the community around me more, possibly collaborating with local farms and other student orgs!”
“Conferences like this remind me that there are other people also working towards the goal of reducing food waste and hunger in our world; hearing other people’s stories, journeys, successes and failures was all very valuable.”
“Instead of pushing for change, I will Lead the change. I will no longer beg or plead for people to help and care … I will do it because I FIGHT Hunger because No One should go Hungry.”
- #FWHS2016. Man, oh man, did our attendees deliver on social media. What else can you expect when you gather over two hundred and fifty #hungerfighters in one place. In case you missed the Summit, get a glimpse of what went on by following #FWHS2016 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
At the 2016 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.
Nopalitos Award – goes to the Campus Kitchen leader who never faltered in the face of adversity and instead rose to every challenge and took every difficulty in stride.
The Campus Kitchen at Kent State University
We can’t imagine a more unusual donation than the one this Campus Kitchen had to handle this year, and they took it in stride and transformed it into an opportunity which yielded unprecedented impact for their clients and local community. When a local Trader Joe’s was closing a store to open a new one down the street, the company was going to have to dispose of hundreds of thousands of pounds of food. This Campus Kitchen, which has had a long standing relationship with this store, was able to marshal nearly 60 volunteers to recover and distribute nearly 5 truckloads of food over the course of one weekend. It enabled community partners to serve additional meals, more substantial meals, and wider variety of food for the clients. The result was $300,000 worth of food saved and a community fed.
Growing the Movement – this award recognizes the Campus Kitchen that has looked beyond the change that they can achieve in their own community and has given back to the entire Campus Kitchens network.
The Campus Kitchen at Virginia Tech University
Even though this school launched less than a year ago, they have been stand out leaders in the network and some of the best advocates for our program. This program is unique in that it was the first Campus Kitchen to be started by an AmeriCorps VISTA. Their food recovery and meal preparation efforts are impressive, having already recovered nearly 10,000 pounds of food since their launch. But what makes this Campus Kitchen truly amazing is their ability to spread the message of their program to others. This Campus Kitchen has hosted open houses for other schools in their area, set up meetings with other staff and students, and used their program as an outreach tool to help spread the word about CKP. In just a short time, they have been able to share their model throughout their region and spark interest at countless nearby institutions.
Harvester – awarded to a student who has brought cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills to their Campus Kitchen.
Colleen Semmler at the Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University
This volunteer exemplifies the true spirit of this award. She has always drawn on her real life experience to improve the quality of her Campus Kitchen. Whether she is bringing what she has learned in her time working in an on campus cafe, her knowledge gained as an Occupational Therapy student, or her side hobby (her quest to cook every single recipe in a huge anthology cookbook) she brings these gifts to contribute to her Campus Kitchen. She has spent her own off time prototyping recipes for our fundraisers, trying out recipes to cook on her shifts and baking treats for every single Campus Kitchen meeting for the last 3 years. She’s a gem who has made her kitchen shine.
Going Beyond the Meal - recognizes the Campus Kitchen that demonstrates excellent “beyond the meal” initiatives in service to their community.
The Campus Kitchen at Baylor University
This Campus Kitchen is exemplary in using food as a tool to bring people together. Over the past couple years, they have grown their impact on senior hunger, and begun to operate year-round for the first time. They understand that the barriers their clients experience in facing food insecurity and poverty can’t be solved just by providing meals. So last year, they hosted an incredible event, called Roots Day, that brings together their senior clients for a fun day of cooking demonstrations, garden demonstrations, and even senior adult aerobics. Most importantly, it served a community health fair for senior adults in the Waco community, where different local organizations provided resources, information, and encouragement for the senior adults who attended the event, helping them get in touch with additional services they may need. This event truly embodies the principle of using food as a tool to build relationships and ultimately offer our clients programs that will address the underlying root causes of hunger.
Ingrid Easton Student Visionary – celebrates the entrepreneurial drive in our student leaders, who dream big and make it happen. The award is named in honor of Ingrid Easton, Washington and Lee University graduate who achieved her goal of opening a Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University in 2006.
Brinda Penmetsa at the Campus Kitchen at the University of Houston
This student was nominated by two different people, one who serves at her Campus Kitchen and one person in our national office. Her fellow student writes, “I was with her from the start of planning to launch our Campus Kitchen, and without her passionate drive to make it happen, our Campus Kitchen wouldn’t have existed. Her perseverance helped us all push through. She definitely dreamed big and made it happen.” Our Community Development team in the national office could see this potential clearly as well. Their nomination read, “From the moment I met her, I knew she was a rock star. As a Bonner scholar, she not only has excelled academically but also goes above and beyond in her service to her community. She was the driving force behind bringing a Campus Kitchen to the University of Houston, and continues to seek opportunities to grow the movement within the Bonner network. She spoke at the annual Bonner Conference, BonCon, about CKP and has even recruited other new schools to join.
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 Troy University
This Campus Kitchen has made a profound impact on their community through not only their meals but the numerous other programs they provide to their clients. They have made it a goal to increase their capacity to provide supplemental nutrition and beyond the meal programming to their community over the past year. They have started and sustained three community gardens in their city and even in nearby cities. They were able to plant both Fall and Summer gardens, which allowed them to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables to their clients, and gave their volunteers further opportunities to interact with the surrounding community. They have conducted nutrition education for youth, garden education for older adults all while providing nearly 7,000 meals to those in need. It is clear to see how this Campus Kitchen is impacting their community in so many ways!
Volunteer of the Year Award - recognizes a student who has gone above and beyond in service to his or her Campus Kitchen.
Gracelyn Jones at the Campus Kitchen at UGA
This volunteer has served with their Campus Kitchen since the fall of 2014 as both a shift leader and as Co-President. Every Sunday morning, beginning at 9am for the past two school years (and one summer), she has served as a shift leader of our grocery store food recovery shift. Despite the shift’s early hour and necessary attention to food safety controls, Gracelyn consistently brings a positive attitude and a clear sense of purpose. She has served as a mentor for other students that lead this shift alongside her, and is widely regarded as our expert sources of knowledge when it comes to cataloging, sorting and organizing up to 1,200 pounds of food in a two-hour time frame. Throughout her volunteer work, she balances a “get-it-done” attitude with thoughtfulness and a consideration for our volunteers, student leaders, and clients. With an eye towards the future, she has devoted countless hours to compiling a database of contacts for on campus organizations and departments, as well as local community services groups, for the purpose of establishing new long-standing groups interested in partnering with the Campus Kitchen in the fight against hunger and food waste. These efforts behind the scenes have paid huge dividends, as she was the sole organizer of her Campus Kitchen’s Turkeypalooza efforts, which brought together 26 organizations to donate nearly 1,800 pounds of goods and distribute 1,370 meals to over 300 senior clients. In this semester alone, she has gracefully orchestrated 12 different volunteer groups, and has laid the groundwork for continued partnerships into the summer and next year. She always brings a quick smile and compassion to her tasks, and her wisdom has been invaluable to our Campus Kitchen.
Kitchen of the Year Award - honors the Campus Kitchen that excels not only in safe and efficient operations, but in the many components that support operations, including community partnerships, participation in the CKP network, volunteer engagement and more.
The Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky
This Campus Kitchen embodies all the characteristics of a strong Campus Kitchen. They have been able to deeply engrain their program into the curriculum of their department, allowing for all students to find ways to apply their service to their academic work. They are able to serve a diverse set of clients, from older adults, to youth; from high school students, to even their own students on their campus. With each of these groups they have established strong beyond the meal programming to truly use their food as a tool. With their older adult clients, they drop off grocery bags and engage them with community meals and nutrition education. With their high school students, they cook the meal with them and teach them valuable life skills. With their youth, they utilize their garden partnerships to teach garden education and glean produce for healthy snacks. Their commitment to serving their community is clear but they are also committed to always improving what they can do. This Campus Kitchen excels in rigorous evaluation of each of their programs to ensure they are providing the best possible services to their clients, all while teaching their student leaders how to create innovative and sustainable solutions to hunger.