Read the full article at Examiner.
Tag Archives: food waste
With school now underway across the country, here is a great social cause for students to get involved with. It’s called the Campus Kitchen Project. It’s about ending food waste, which can be the key to fighting hunger in America.
Linda Kurtz, the Online Community Engagement Manager, recently took time to talk to me about Campus Kitchens and how you can get involved.
What is a Campus Kitchen?
A Campus Kitchen is a campus-based, student-run organization where students transform unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers’ markets into meals that are delivered to local agencies serving those in need. Campus Kitchens are part of the national organization The Campus Kitchens Project, which supports their development, growth and activities on high school and college campuses around the country.
How many schools are taking part?
As of last week, we are officially at 39 Campus Kitchens, with several more slated to launch this fall.
What are some examples of how colleges are able to recover food from a campus dining hall and bring it to those in need?
Most of our Campus Kitchens have wonderful partnerships with the dining service provider on their campuses, who allow them to recover food that would otherwise be thrown away (or maybe composted) and use that food to create healthy meals for those in need. We particularly have great relationships with Sodexo-run dining services, as they are very supportive of our students’ efforts to reduce waste and hunger. A great example of this is happening at the College of William and Mary, which has hosted the Campus Kitchen at William and Mary since 2007 (seven years this August!).
In the 2013-2014 academic year, the Campus Kitchen at William and Mary recovered 5,298 pounds of food and prepared 6,448 meals for clients in the Williamsburg, VA area. Just this week, they received a great donation of about 575 pounds of food from their Sodexo-run dining services. Sodexo employees actually helped transport the food to their kitchen, too!
The process tends to look like this: students arrange a pickup schedule at certain dining halls on whatever days they would like the Campus Kitchen volunteers to arrive. The students pick up the food (which is generally either prepared food that was never served or unprepared raw product) and bring it to the dining hall kitchen that they use for their cooking shifts. The students then process the food, store it and use it to create meals for their clients. Oftentimes the students will use the food they’ve recovered a day or two after it’s come in to the kitchen so they can plan a menu of balanced meals.
What are some of the ways a Campus Kitchen can partner with a local food pantry?
Several of our Campus Kitchens have developed relationships where their local food bank is a food donor and they are able to pick up food and incorporate that product into their meals. Also, many Campus Kitchens support (or are in the process of supporting) on-campus food pantries that serve hungry students at their schools. Oftentimes, this involves the Campus Kitchen stocking that pantry with non-perishable goods; other times, they prepare meals that students can pick up.
How would a student reading this go about joining Campus Kitchens?
We recently launched an online Campus Kitchen Planner that lays out the step by step process of bringing our program to any college campus. All a student needs to do is go to campuskitchens.org/start-a-kitchen and they can sign up to get access to a planner. And, if a student who indicates interest in starting a Campus Kitchen is from a school already in the planning process, we’re happy to connect that individual with the existing team.
Right now is an exciting time to consider joining our network, as we have three different $5,000 launch grant opportunities available to schools in the planning process (or interested in getting started!). Those grants are linked on the “start-a-kitchen” page.
Campus Kitchens is also up for a grant from the National Dairy Council. You can help them by joining the MOOvement campaign.
Read the interview at Examiner.
For Burwinkel Farms of Hamilton, Ohio the work day starts early picking corn in the fields. The “corn is as high as an elephant’s eye” is the famous lyric from the musical Oklahoma. Karen Burwinkel, the manager of the farm, says they cannot quite confirm this for they have never had an elephant visit.
What Burwinkels can say for certain is they have delicious corn and other yummy fruits and vegetables. Each summer morning, trucks are loaded with food to be taken to its locations across the Cincinnati area.
Burwinkel Farms is a summer tradition, one that has been operating since 1918.
Very quietly too Burwinkels is helping fight hunger in the community. Hunger is a silent, but serious crisis in the Cincinnati area. Feeding America says that 18.5 percent of the county’s population suffers from hunger. Among children the “food insecurity” rate skyrockets to 21.1 percent.
Burwinkels is helping out. For produce not sold, they make sure it is not wasted. Once a week, Burwinkels donates food to the Holy Family Church Food Pantry in Price Hill.
Diana Penick, who manages the pantry, says they have helped 7,170 families in need during the past year. She says, “In the past year we served 20,366 people. Not bad for a small church pantry!” The pantry is part of the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank system.
Burwinkels makes these donations during the summer months, which is most critical. Donations to food pantries often drop off during this time period compared to the holiday season. Also, during the summer many children lose access to the federal school lunch and breakfast programs. Summer feeding is available in some locations but has not reached anywhere near the coverage provided during the school year.
Burwinkel Farms makes its donation to Holy Family through its Delhi location on Sundays. This has been ongoing since last year. You can even stop by and “purchase” food to be added to the donation each week.
Hunger in America is a growing crisis, with more than 50 million people impacted. Tough economic times are here and the Congress is threatening to reduce the food stamp program (SNAP) which will place even more pressure on already overstretched food banks.
Following Burwinkels example is to waste no food, and do what you can to support hunger relief. That great summer delight of corn is something more than a nutritious food, but also brings hope to those in need.
originally published at Cincinnati.com.