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Students fight food waste

By Katie Dobbs

In 2011, three students from the University of Maryland, College Park noticed that large

amounts of leftover food from on-campus dining venues were being thrown away.

In response, they created the Food Recovery Network (FRN) on their campus, which has

developed into a national non-profit organization with chapters working to recover surplus food

on campuses and deliver it to hunger-fighting agencies in communities across the country.

And, as of Tuesday, Sept. 2, Willamette is an official chapter of the FRN. In the first six days of

the FRN program at Willamette, 274 pounds of food were donated.

“I work at Goudy, and so I saw all the food that we were dumping, and it felt like a lot of students

wanted something to be done about that,” said Kristi Fukunaga, a sophomore and the first

person to volunteer for Willamette’s FRN chapter. “I wasn’t sure how to make a difference. I

thought this was a good opportunity to start something up.”

Sophomore biology major Maya Kaup contacted the FRN last spring and founded the

Willamette chapter of the non-profit organization.

She recruited volunteers and trained them to follow the food standards set by the FRN. The

volunteers met with the managers and staff of Goudy Café to make sure they were also aware

of Goudy‘s and Bon Appétit’s rules for food waste.

Kaup approached Goudy General Manager Chris Linn at the end of last year about the

organization.

“She gave me a sense of what the FRN was all about and what her plans were to organize that

on campus and take advantage of some of the leftovers that we have on a pretty regular basis

to help the local community,” Linn said.

The FRN became partners with Bon Appétit in 2013.

“Bon Appétit, nationwide, supports a lot of organizations that try to advance the causes of

sustainability or ethical practices, so that definitely gave it some legitimacy in my eyes,” Linn

said.

Leftover food that will now go to FRN efforts comes primarily from dinner, and is put in the

freezer by Goudy staff the night before volunteers collect it. After taking the temperature of

the food, which must be below 41 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered safe for donation, the

volunteers weigh the food and record the measurements.

The food is driven to one of the two organizations for donation, Union Gospel Mission or

Women at the Well Grace House.

The FRN is the newest of several sustainability practices Bon Appétit has implemented on the

University’s campus. These include initiatives such as Trayless Tuesday and Trim Trax, which

was reported to have halved the amount of waste from Bon Appétit cafés at Willamette from

2,000 quarts to 1,000 quarts a week.

“The Willamette motto to me speaks greatly to a commitment of service and to lending our

efforts for the benefit and welfare of others,” Linn said. “I do not think there is a clearer example

of the direct application of this principle than donating unused food product to a charitable

organization.”

kdobbs@willamette.edu

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