Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network

          The 50th chapter of Food Recovery Network (FRN) was introduced to Lycoming College on January 15th 2014, and since this program has been established, Lyco has been fighting food waste and hunger every day. The main goal of this program is to integrate students and the community with a common goal: to reduce the amount of waste that goes into our landfill, and to feed people in need in our community.
          How FRN works is that students go to our dining hall at the end of every day, package uneaten food from that day, weigh it and deliver it to our partner agency, American Rescue Workers (ARW). Since introduced to Lycoming College, Food Recovery Network has saved over 14,000 lbs of food that would have otherwise been thrown away in the landfill. The success of FRN at Lycoming College has impacted hundreds of men and women in our community and has made an impact on the faculty and staff in addition to students working together through this program. Our success with FRN at Lyco would not have been accomplished without a number of dedicated volunteers willing to take time out of their day to feed the homeless and many of the students at Lycoming College have been positively impacted by these efforts and have gotten to personally know the people we donate our food to.

“Our partnership with the Lycoming Coillege Sustainability Committee and the Food Recovery Network has been a great success.  We have so far diverted more than 5 tons of food from the waste stream and sent it to a local shelter.  My team and I are proud to be part of this project that created an opportunity for Lycoming College Dining to serve the greater Williamsport community.” Leslie Ekstrand head of Dining Services 

             As this program continued to flourish, our next step was to improve our relationship with our partner agency and we accomplished this by serving Thanksgiving dinner at ARW around the holidays. We did this not only to build a stronger relationship with ARW but to get the point across that our efforts do not stop once we drop off the food. The week of Thanksgiving, some volunteers and a member of the national FRN team served food to the men who live at ARW for three nights and we not only served food to those men, but also the men who work in the kitchen to give them a treat for the holidays. We served, cleaned and mingled with the staff and the men living there to establish a relationship and to build friendships among students and the people living in our community.

               Because we have had such success with FRN, Lycoming College was asked to host the first Food Recovery Network Eastern Regional Conference this past September. This national conference brings students from other chapters across the country together to discuss successes and failures with FRN and ways to make the program more successful at other schools. This two day-event was dedicated to teaching students more effective ways of getting their communities involved with the program and saving as much food as possible through breakout sessions and discussions with members of the FRN national team and fellow peers.

Johanna Hripto doing a recovery

                Every month we have phone conferences with the national team to touch base with them and discuss the pounds recovered and what we are doing to further establish FRN at our school. Lycoming College is a top school fighting food waste and hunger, and because of this we were asked to attend the Food Waste and Hunger Summit in Atlanta, Georgia in April 2015. Because our school has made such progress with our partner agency and this program, the national members have offered to pay for three students at Lycoming to go to this conference. This opportunity is a huge success for our school and all the hard work from faculty, students and staff has made this possible. In addition, we were asked to host a panel session at this summit to discuss our successes with FRN at Lycoming to other schools who want to get chapters started. We will hold sessions to talk about our experiences with networking and actions taken to bring further success to our school and community and give insight to better establish FRN at other schools.

                Food Recovery Network at Lycoming College was started to reduce the amount of food going into our landfills, and to help people in need in our community and we have achieved that. Since January 2014, Lycoming College has reduced what goes into our landfill, we have fed hundreds of people within our community and most importantly we have built a strong relationship with the students on our campus and the members of our community. This program has broadened student’s horizons and shown them different, more sustainable ways to help our community and to decrease the size of our landfills. 

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Twitter: @SustainableLyco