After months of planning, lots of emails and phone calls, and endless enthusiasm, we are thrilled to welcome Troy University to The Campus Kitchens Project network!
The Campus Kitchen at Troy University (CKTroy) is our 40th Campus Kitchen and the second to open in the state of Alabama. They will conduct cooking shifts at Trojan Dining, the main dining hall on campus, and will initially recover food from on-campus dining halls – with support from Sodexo-run Troy University Dining Services. This food will then be used to create nutritious meals for children participating in the Pike County Head Start program. The Campus Kitchen is sponsored by Troy’s Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement.
Matt, our expansion and partnerships manager, is spending half of this week in Troy sharing best practices with the student leaders who will be running the Campus Kitchen, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to run an effective community-based organization. This afternoon, student leaders and volunteers will conduct the Campus Kitchen’s first cooking shift and prepare 50 meals for their new clients.
To make this happen, students and staff at Troy University utilized our online Campus Kitchen Planner, which provides a step-by-step process for bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school. Entire planning teams can have access to their school’s Planner, which shows all of the tasks necessary to start a Campus Kitchen. Each task can be assigned to an individual and then checked off a list when it’s complete!
To learn more about bringing a Campus Kitchen to your school, visit our Campus Kitchen Planner.
Andrea Lindsay is an AmeriCorps VISTA with the NYCCAH Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps serving at The Campus Kitchens Project for one year.
While Campus Kitchens around the country were celebrating Food Day all last week, The Campus Kitchens Project national office in DC had the opportunity to participate in the Food Day Harvest Festival hosted by the National Geographic Museum on October 25. This free event featured tastings, chef demos, a farmers market, hands-on activities and more.
With the help of two wonderful volunteers, our staff shared the food group jeopardy game from our Building Blocks for Healthy Kids nutrition education curriculum with visitors young and old. The prize for participation? Fruit and veggie face paint! We also used our table to share resources for kids, parents and teachers—from coloring pages to recipes and family activities—to support the Food Day priority of promoting healthier diets for all.
We were proud to be in the same room as many local and national partners who are finding and sharing innovative ways to support community health and wellness from the ground up. From high school students demonstrating the difference between white and whole-wheat bread to the kid who answered all of our Jeopardy questions and then proposed some of his own, it was clear that everyone has something to contribute to the conversation about healthy eating. A grandmother took home MyPlate coloring pages for her grandchildren. Teachers told us about their school garden programs and collected recipes to try with their students. A young girl having her face painted specified that she liked the curved kind of eggplant.
These types of interactions are what make us truly excited about the conversations that Food Day and our “beyond the meal” programs promote. When we share information about healthy eating—whether at our national office or at Campus Kitchens around the country—we often find that we learn just as much as we teach. Food Day and the local partners who made the Harvest Festival such a success help us to show that improving our food system starts with empowering individuals to share their knowledge and skills with a broader community. Whether we’re fighting hunger by using food that would otherwise have gone to waste or combating obesity by helping kids to make healthy choices, we can find solutions to some of our greatest problems by utilizing resources that already exist in our communities.
Last Thursday, Campus Kitchens across the country held a variety of events and activities in honor of Food Day, an annual nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies. The events looked different on each campus, but their purpose was the same: to educate other students on food issues and on how Campus Kitchens are addressing those issues.
Here are just a few of the events that took place:
- The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University hosted a table where others could make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and learn more about the Campus Kitchen and Food Day. Their friends and partners in the fight against waste and hunger in the community, Points for a Purpose, joined them for sandwich making.
- All week long, Washington University in St. Louis supported a canned food drive for the Campus Kitchen, proceeds from which will be used to serve children and homeless women in St. Louis.
- The Campus Kitchen at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay hosted their annual No Waste Breakfast to highlight the importance of reducing food waste, and using food that might otherwise be thrown away to feed people.
- At Baylor University, Campus Kitchen leaders asked students to pick up a bag, fill it with healthy donations and return it to be delivered to a local agency.
- The Campus Kitchen at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore partnered with other local agencies to prepare their a healthy, balanced meal for more than 100 food insecure individuals.
Finally, here in DC, our national office participated in the Harvest Festival, DC’s celebration of Food Day 2014. Stay tuned to learn more about that event later this week!
We’re proud to call Food Day one of our great partners in our work to improve our food system. And at the end of the day, advocating for sustainable food systems and raising awareness for hunger and food waste is just one way our Campus Kitchens are going beyond the meal to make an impact in their communities.
From October 14 to October 21, five schools rallied thousands of votes from their students, alumni, staff and supporters to compete for a start-up grant to bring our program to their campus. The votes are in, and we are excited to announce the three winners of our latest launch grant video competition:
- University of Kentucky – 3,434 votes
- University of Wisconsin-Madison – 2,452 votes
- Walsh University – 1,970 votes
These three schools have each won a $5,000 grant sponsored by AARP Foundation to start their own Campus Kitchen by spring 2015. Five schools in all qualified for this competition through our new Campus Kitchen Planner, which provides step-by-step guidance to any group interested in bringing our program to their campus. After completing several steps in the planner, each competing school submitted a video explaining why their community would benefit from a Campus Kitchen. Then, over the past 7 days, the competitors mobilized their supporters to vote for their videos once per day per device.
A big thanks to those who voted, and congratulations to our winners!