Earlier this month, from April 18 to 19, more than 300 student hunger-fighters from around the country gathered at the University of Georgia for the 2015 Food Waste & Hunger Summit, a two day conference co-hosted by The Campus Kitchens Project and Food Recovery Network. The event convened student leaders who are pioneering solutions to the interrelated problems of food insecurity and food waste and gave participants a forum to learn from experts in the fields of social justice, social enterprise, public health, non-profit management and related fields in addition to the opportunity to share best practices.
The Summit began in earnest on Saturday morning with introductions to the host and partner organizations and an inspiring keynote by Doug Rauch, founder of Daily Table, a new retail market that will sell expired food and pre-made meals at discounted prices, increasing access to healthy food in under-served areas of Boston. Summit participants then had the opportunity to participate in a variety of breakout sessions led by students and professionals alike centered around hunger issues, initiatives beyond meal delivery, funding and more. Representatives from Sodexo, Bon Appetit and UGA Food Services were also on hand to discuss best practices around food recovery and relationship-building with dining service providers.
On Sunday, Dr. Caree Cotwright, an assistant professor in the UGA Department of Foods and Nutrition, kicked off the morning with an engaging plenary session on the importance of confidently following your dreams, even to the extent of building a career around them. Dr. Cotwright spoke of her experiences developing First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, and how she uses her interest in theater to educate children on health and nutrition.
Later that day, attendees were able to attend a variety of breakout sessions on building sustainable solutions to hunger and advocacy/policy issues. Throughout the weekend, participants had opportunities to network with other Summit attendees from their region and who share topical interests.
Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the Food Waste & Hunger Summit – the event was a huge success thanks to your support and enthusiasm! This is what two of our participating students had to say:
Seeing [that] I am part…of a national movement was invaluable.
It’s hard to say what the best part was, because it was all so good. The sessions I attended were all excellent, inspiring and thought provoking. I also had the opportunity to talk to several of the attendees and presenters and hope to meet with them in the future to discuss new ideas.
Thanks also to our funders who made this unique event possible: AARP Foundation, CoBank, Sodexo Foundation, ELCA World Hunger Program and Ameriprise Financial. We were thrilled to re-connect with a variety of our friends and partners in the fight against food waste and hunger, including Food Recovery Network, Food Day, Real Food Challenge, Swipes for the Homeless, Society of St. Andrew, HungerU and No More Empty Pots, and we look forward to collaborating in the future!