On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” Executive Director of Food Recovery Network (FRN) Regina Northouse talks about the newest answers to food waste issues: simple solutions and young activists. “I think there’s a lot of things we can do to keep it simple to rally around food loss and food waste,” says Northouse. “It is so inspiring to see [students] take this concept and turn it into what they need to do day-to-day to make an impact on their college campus and within their communities.”
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Founded in 2011 at the University of Maryland, FRN is a student-led movement. “This is a movement that was started by students and continues to be grown, and expanded, and twirled around, and intensified because of students,” says Northouse. With 230 chapters across the country, FRN recovered over 1.4 million kilograms (3.2 million pounds) of food to close the nation-wide problems of food waste and hunger. “I believe in the power of young people to solve problems in our society, complex and otherwise.”
“These students are so full of grit and resiliency,” says Northouse. To rescue the food, students create relationships with dining managers, campus staff, and community organizations that allow them to package leftover, perishable food and bring it to locations serving people in need. The systems students create not only serve meals to hungry community members, but also give feedback to donors like Aramark, Bon Appetit Management Company, Gourmet Dining, and Sodexo about their food output and recognize the contributions of campus chefs and cooks. “Instead of throwing this food away, which is completely demoralizing to the people that cooked it, we package it up[…] students build their own system by working with dining managers on campus,” says Northouse.
Northouse molds FRN to help students as they make impacts on their campuses and in their communities, adding training resources and assistance to empower students. “We need to give them their voice. It is so important to infuse their creativity with our creativity and their problem solving with our problem solving,” says Northouse.
Photo courtesy of Food Recovery Network.