Greening Our Community – FSU Students Run a Food Recovery Program

FRN Tabling Market Wednesday

Since the fall of 2014, the Food Recovery Network at FSU (FRN) has recovered over twenty-five thousand pounds of food for donation to partner agencies within Tallahassee.

In a city with the third lowest percentage of food access in the state, salvaging every piece of food produced for re-consumption is vital to the public health and cohesiveness of our community.

To anyone who looks hard enough, it is obvious that Tallahassee is severely economically segregated. Because of this disproportionate distribution of wealth within the city, those who live in economically segregated communities have limited access to the options that are available for consumption.

However, there are groups within Tallahassee working diligently to remedy this food inequality – a quick drive around Frenchtown will reveal how residents are working against food insecurity through community gardens and collective action.

Just across the street, the Food Recovery Network turns trash into treasure by picking up excess consumable food from dining locations. This food is then transported to various locations within Tallahassee that work with underserved communities to ensure that every resident of Leon County has equal access.

The concept of food sovereignty and having autonomy to choose where your meals come from was the foundation for the conception of our chapter in 2014. Since then, we have donated over twenty-thousand meals to individuals experiencing food insecurity, a large portion of whom are also experiencing homelessness.

On the ground, Food Recovery Network operates four nights a week in dining halls on campus after they close down for the night. The process is simple, but effective – we show up, package up the food, load the food into a car, and then deliver it to the designated partner agency for the evening. The process takes about forty-five minutes from start to finish, and volunteers are able to receive service hours on their official transcripts for participating.

In addition to these evening recoveries, we also strive to minimize waste within the athletics sector through football and baseball recoveries. Football recoveries glean over five-hundred pounds – this is half a ton of food that was being thrown away prior to our arrival on campus.

This is a testament to the power of student activism – we have a stake in building the futures we want for ourselves, and for FRN, this entails a world where food recovery is mutually beneficial for the Earth and its people. Through food recovery, we are able to reduce human impact and contribution to landfills, while simultaneously combatting food insecurity on a local level.

Gabrielle Maynard is a fourth year student at FSU who has been the director of FSU’s Food Recovery Network for three years.  Learn more at   This “Greening Our Community” article is made possible by the Capital Area Sustainability Council, a forum organized by Sustainable Tallahassee.  Learn more at