Several higher education institutions have active food recovery campaigns built into their cafeteria systems. Some focus on composting food waste, but a growing number are looking to food donations. It is still a small percentage, but consider the efforts of the Food Recovery Network at the University of Maryland. Their experience and the outreach that they are providing to other universities who are considering recovery options could be very valuable for us.
Here’s a blurb from the FRN at UM:
Our network has already donated over 30,000 meals as of March 2012. We are growing our impact fast here at UMD and have reached a rate of about 15,000 meals per semester. Part of that came from our expansion to recovering from UMD’s basketball and football games, where we get massive amounts of delicious leftover concessions food: hotdogs, hamburgers, pretzels, fries, and occasionally crab cakes (we are the University of Maryland, after all). Our record? From a single basketball game, on New Year’s Eve 2011, we donated 727 meals!
Compost is an obvious component of diverting food from the landfill but it isn’t high on the food waste hierarchy. In fact, it’s second from the bottom. The Full Circle Food Pantry already receives donations from Chartwells. Are there additional sources of food on campus that could be diverted from the garbage and put onto the plates of hungry people in Northwest Arkansas?