Weighing Food Waste—and How to Fix It

“It becomes a black hole in our cabinet,” says Thomas Vu (’16). “Once the [...]food goes to the back we never see it again.”

Ignored and discarded food adds up, Vu says—to more than 37 million tons annually in the U.S., about 40 percent of food bought. Meanwhile, he says, “about one in six Americans are food insecure, including one in five children.”

To address the issue, Vu completed a practicum this past summer with the Campus Kitchen at the University of Massachusetts Boston (CKUMB), one of the Campus Kitchens Project’s 54 chapters across the country. [LINK: https://www.umb.edu/life_on_campus/student_involvement/oslce/students/campus_kitchens ] Within each of Campus Kitchens Project’s 54 chapters across the country, CKP collects excess food from college dining halls, as well as from donors like grocery stores and food banks, and turns it into meals for food-insecure communities.

“Food waste not only happens in our homes,” Vu says, “but also on college campuses: the average college student wastes about 142 pounds of food a year, and in total this translates to about 144 billion dollars of food waste a year.”

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