Four Schools Join the Food Recovery Network
The Food Recovery Network is proud to announce that four new schools have joined our movement to end food waste on college campuses. Students at The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence College, University of Texas-Austin, and the Claremont schools of Scripps, Harvey-Mudd, and Claremont McKenna all started food recovery programs on their campuses. None of these schools previously had any recovery program, meaning that every pound of food students recover from those schools would have been thrown out.
Each of the campuses has a slightly different model, but they all share a common goal of reducing food waste on their campuses and ending hunger in their communities. At RISD, students did a week-long food audit in their main dining hall, and were surprised that there was almost zero food waste.
Undiscouraged, they recruited volunteers to pick up from local restaurants near campus, and partner with the Brown University Food Recovery Network chapter to bring food down to a shelter in Providence every night of the week.
At Providence College, David O’Connor and Nick Canessa created Friar Food Rescue, and they are working directly with the campus’ dining hall to deliver prepared food to McAuley House, which provides a daily lunch to over 150 people every day. In their first two weeks, they have already recovered over 350 pounds of food.
With the new food recovery programs at Providence College and RISD, as well as Brown University’s existing program, there are now three Providence schools in FRN. According to Ben Chesler, Director of Operation for the Brown University program, “what’s great about having three schools in Providence doing food recovery is that we can coordinate our efforts to fight hunger. All of the schools recover slightly different types of food, and we are working together to match what we have with the needs of different shelters and meal sites in Providence.”
Across the country in California, students at Harvey Mudd, Scripps, and Claremont McKenna banded together with an existing program at Pomona to work towards eliminating food waste at the Claremont schools. “I think that most problems in the world are problems of distribution – FRN helps mitigate a small part of this by getting food that’s unneeded where it is to somewhere it can be used,” says Lauren Mitten, one of the student founders of the program.
Down south, students at the University of Texas-Austin are working with a local food recovery organization, Keep Austin Fed, to recover food from restaurants around campus. Students are the school saw the work the Brown University program was doing and wanted to replicate it on their campus. They soon connected with Keep Austin Fed, and began getting students to volunteer so the organization could expand its reach.
Parker, one of the founders of the program, believes that “Unquestionably, the most rewarding aspect of FRN has been catching sight of homeless men and women enjoying the meals our chapter has recovered.” Next semester, they plan to work with Dining Services to begin recovering food from their school’s many dining halls.
Food Recovery Network Founder Ben Simon has been thrilled that students are joining the network. “Starting a food recovery program on your campus is such an easy and effective way to reduce waste. I think students are beginning to see that this is a great way for them to fight hunger in their communities and help the environment. I think once people see the impact these programs have, it won’t be long before Food Recovery Network has programs operating on every campus in the country.”
Here at FRN, we are continuing to work with our four new member schools to help them recover more food, and we are excited to see these new chapters grow and thrive. We’re also working with students at University of Michigan and University of Kentucky to start programs there, and we’re pumped to see which schools start food recovery programs next.