FSU Food Recovery Network donates excess food from campus dining to fight food insecurity

students attending food waste presentation

The Food Recovery Network at FSU began promoting sustainability on campus by collecting excess food from campus dining locations and donating them to the local community this October. This week, volunteers helped collect, package, and deliver leftover food from the Figg Athlete’s Dining Room to Care Tallahassee and the Kearney Center. 

Care Tallahassee is a Christian home that rehabilitates men at risk for homelessness or men reintegrating into society after incarceration. The Kearney Center shelters homeless or at-risk individuals in the community and provides meal services, daytime services and medical assistance. Both centers offer connections for people to receive assistance and work towards personal solutions to long-term socioeconomic problems.

The FRN has donated 63,253 pounds of food since its founding in 2014. This amounts to just over 52,700 meals donated to the community. In one academic year alone, the chapter collected and donated 14,283 pounds between Fall 2018 and Summer 2019. Donations provide those in the Tallahassee community experiencing food insecurity with a healthy, nutritious diet.

the FRN also reduces the amount of food that goes into a landfill where trash and other items rot and release methane, a greenhouse gas. According to Climate Central, if all the food waste in the world was its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the United States. 

“Prior to hearing about the program, I had never thought about what happened to all of the leftover food on campus,” said Diana Conrad, coordinator of the FRN at FSU.“After seeing a recovery, I was amazed at how much food was able to be donated to the Tallahassee community. It’s rewarding for me to be part of the entire recovery process, from collecting the food to seeing how appreciated the donations are by our community partners.” 

Besides Figg’s, FRN volunteers collect food from Legal Provisions, Jolt Cafe, Garnet ‘n’ Go, Dr. Inn’s, the College of Engineering Cafe, and on-campus events such as Family Weekend and Dance Marathon. During Family Weekend 2019, the FRN was able to recover 438.2 pounds of food, in comparison to 153.8 pounds of non-recyclable or non-compostable waste that needed to be thrown away, in just two days. It hopes to expand its outreach and efforts to eliminate more food waste on campus as its volunteer base grows. 

The FRN is currently working with the Dean of Students Food for Thought Pantry to coordinate regular donations to the food pantry as a way to solve food insecurity on campus.  

If you are interested in volunteering with the FRN and FSU Sustainable Campus, they are holding their first GBM this semester on Tues., Oct. 15 in Mendenhall Room 101A at 6pm. ServScript hours are offered to students.

“FRN is completely volunteer-based, so the more volunteers we have, the more meals we’re able to recover. We encourage anyone interested in fighting food waste on campus to join us for recoveries,” said Conrad. 

Check out the article on FSU News!