77°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Trimming the Fat

Trimming the Fat

A new project in the making seeks to repurpose foods not con- sumed by UMass students.With food shortages at unprec- edented levels at the end of 2009, we have entered a new era of food insecurity.And in the midst of this escalat- ing insecurity, the management of leftover food comes into ques- tion.Leftovers or ‘food waste’ is de- fined as “any food substance, raw or cooked, which is discarded, or intended or required to be dis- carded.” Food waste is the single largest contributor to the landfill system. According to the Mas- sachusetts Department of Envi- ronmental Protection, leftovers account for more than 800,000 tons of waste generated each year in Massachusetts.Recognized as a public problem and a recycling issue, food waste requires us to view our avail- able options and seek solutions to aid not only local communi- ties, but the environment as well. The Campus Kitchen Project at UMass Boston hopes to change this very facet.As an established nonprofit or- ganization, the Campus Kitchen Project is a student led program that focuses on recycling leftover food from cafeterias, turning these donations into nourishing meals, and delivering these meals to their communities. There are currently twenty other Campus Kitchens across the United States, with UMass Boston being the twenty-first.”The mission is to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities through the work we do with repurposing and recovering food,” said Chelsea Goulart, Campus Kitchens Co- ordinator. “We will be collaborat- ing with outside agencies such as various groceries stores, poten- tially food banks, and local high schools.One of the most notable col- laborations includes the very leftover food in UMass Boston’s own dining halls. David Levine, General Manager of Sodexho at UMass Boston, offered the Cam- pus Kitchen Project with the nec- essary workspace to make it hap- pen.”Sodexo was the forefront with the expansion of Campus Kitchen at various other colleges. Though not a lot of food is leftover, coor- dination with other organizations as a group effort will make a dif- ference,” said Levine.”He’s been generous enough to offer space in the kitchen. At the end of the day, whatever would be thrown away will be shelved. Of course, there’s a criteria of what can and can’t be recovered,” said Chelsea Goulart. “It’s also a cre- ative challenge for students. Thevariety will change from week to week depending on the menu. Volunteers will have to figure out what meals can be made.”Campus Kitchen will be struc- tured with volunteers and a lead- ership team. Volunteers are ob- ligated to work whenever they choose to. The leadership team is composed of dedicated members who run shifts, complete paper- work, and handle administered roles. Internships are available as workstudy for financial aid awarded students. Students in- terested in culinary arts or simply volunteering for a good cause are encouraged to apply.Currently, the Campus Kitchen project is partnered with Jump- start to provide meals to the youth at various locations. The current goal is to meet a 50-150 meals per week quota, though Goulart is optimistic about growth.”I would like this to be the big- gest program that Campus Kitch- en as a whole as ever seen. We have the resources and the stu- dent power here to outgrow [the other Campus Kitchens]. Within the next six months, we will reach out to as many organizations as we can and see how far we can push that with numbers. We want to incorporate as many people as possible.The Campus Kitchen kickoff event will be held in the ballroom on February 10th at 3:00PM. The first kitchen shift will follow thereafter.Davin Surin can be contacted at [email protected]

 

Campus Kitchens Mission

Strengthen Bodies by using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in our community.

Empower Minds by providing leadership and service learning op- portunities to students, and educational benefits to adults, seniors, children, and families in need.

Build Communities by fostering a new generation of community- minded adults through resourceful and mutually beneficial partner- ships among students, social service agencies, businesses and schools.