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Students at UMD noticed their dining halls were throwing away food every night, while hungry people begged on the streets outside. They did some research, and learned that this isn't just true on college campuses. In 2009, Americans wasted 68 billion pounds of food - or approximately 40% of our food - making food America's second largest waste stream. In the same year, 1 in 6 Americans - 43.6 million people - struggled with hunger. In addition, of the 68 billion pounds of food waste generated in 2009, only three percent of it was recovered. That food is currently sitting in landfills, generating huge amounts of methane gas, which the EPA estimates is 21 times worse for our environment than carbon dioxide
The paradox of food waste and hunger caught the attention of these students, and they decided to do something about it. They founded The Food Recovery Network (FRN), a network of student groups and individuals at colleges and universities volunteering to recover the surplus food from their campuses, and donate it to those in need.
Founded in January of 2012, FRN has had huge success so far. In its first year since being founded, FRN has expanded to 19 college campuses across the country, recovered over 130,000 pounds of food, and been recognized by Guidestar's Blog as one of the top student-founded nonprofits of 2012. The organization was recognized as a 501c3 status and has been covered several times in the Washington Post and one MSNBC. It's still entirely run by student volunteers, but we are in the process of hiring a Program Director to help manage our rapid growth.
The journey is just beginning. Between 75-90% of America’s 4,000 colleges and universities have no food recovery program. This needs to change. We’re igniting a movement and empowering students at colleges across America with the resources they need to launch food recovery networks at their schools.
Colleges have the food. Students have the passion. And Food Recovery Network is the movement that will turn the suprlus food into nutritious meals for hungry men, women, and children in our communities. Food Recovery Network: Fighting Waste, Feeding People!