Local chapter forms to cut down food waste


Photo by Trinity Carey: The newly formed Food Recovery Network at NMU discusses why food waste is a problem and the ways they plan to provide a solution to members of the campus community in a classroom in Jamrich Hall.

Trinity Carey

The United States wastes approximately 40 percent of the food it produces, and much of this waste occurs at the consumer-facing level, according to the national Food Recovery Network’s website.

The Food Recovery Network (FRN) is the largest student movement against food waste and hunger in America. NMU recently started a chapter and now has seven members who met in Jamrich on Monday, Dec. 4 to call for volunteers and inform the campus on the start of their efforts.

The first FRN chapter in the Upper Peninsula aims to reduce food waste and hunger in the community. The group completed their first food recovery last week by taking leftover food from the Marketplace at NMU’s Dining Services to The Warming Center.

“We have all this extra food that otherwise would go to land- fills and release terrible methane emissions,” said President of the NMU Chapter of the FRN Bryce DeMers, junior biology major.

NMU’s Dining Services is working with the FRN by packaging unsold surplus food for student volunteers to deliver. Next semester, the chapter hopes to expand their recovered food delivery locations to places like the Salvation Army, Beacon House, St. Vincent DePaul, Janzen House and the Women’s Center, DeMers said.

Campus has seen other similar initiatives come about recently such as the NMU Food Pantry which aims to address student hunger. The pantry does not currently have the correct equipment to hold hot or cold food. Due to food safety regulations, recovered food from the dining hallscannot be delivered to the food pantry.

Chapter volunteers are currently using their own cars and one-time use pans for food de-livery. As they begin regular scheduled deliveries next semester, the group hopes to acquire more student volunteers who may be interested in becoming food ServSafe certified. Other initiatives will include applying for grants, educating students on how to eat properly at the din- ing hall, grocery shopping tips to reduce waste, upgrading to reusable steel pans and other initiatives to eliminate food waste, DeMers said.

“The overall goal is to fight food waste while helping the community, recover food to prevent it from going to landfills, feed those in need and create a community structure so it’s not just students.”