Having launched in October of 2003, the Campus Kitchen at Augsburg University has been hard at work! They have continued to make an impact in the Minneapolis community and these students and staff work hard to deliver meals, develop relationships, and go beyond the meal year-round. Here is an interview with Natalie Jacobson, a current staff member of the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University.
What does a normal shift at CKAC look like?
Each of our shifts look pretty different! We serve meals at a local youth center on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. We deliver lunches to seniors’ doors on Thursday afternoons. We serve dinner on Friday nights at a senior apartment building. During the summer and fall, we recover surplus produce from farmers markets and distribute that produce to low-income seniors in the neighborhood. We have a food shelf, the Campus Cupboard, that serves students at Augsburg. We also have a community garden on campus with garden plots for community members, students, faculty, and staff.
What is your leadership team structure? Who are your community partners?
We have one staff member (me!) in the Sabo Center (civic engagement office) who coordinates the program. We have another staff member who does program support for a few Sabo Center programs including Campus Kitchen. We have 6-8 student workers who are paid through campus work study funds to run meal shifts, plan food-related campus events, coordinate the Campus Cupboard, etc. Our community partners include the Brian Coyle Community Center, Ebenezer Tower Senior Apartments, Seward Apartments, Peace House, and Mill City Farmers Market, among others.
What Beyond the Meal programs does CKAC do?
We lead cooking programming with youth at the Brian Coyle Center roughly once per week. It’s an opportunity for middle and high school students to have fun experimenting with food/cooking! We also host events on campus and in our surrounding neighborhood focused on a variety of food issues. For example, we held an event this past spring called Garden Party: Our Community Food Stories– an opportunity for folks on campus and in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood to share food and stories about food with one another. We have a new space on campus called the Food Lab! This past academic year, we hosted “open cooking hours” a few times a week, an opportunity for students (some of whom don’t have access to their own kitchen space) to cook whatever they want.
Any advice for other students who have just launched their own CK?
Having institutional support is really helpful! Our CK chapter is housed within our college’s civic engagement office, and we have professional staffing. That makes a huge difference in our ability to coordinate a well-run program.
Any other information for you would like to share?
Community-based relationships are super important to us! Frequent open communication with our community partners helps us continue learning and improving.
If you’re interested in impacting your community through Campus Kitchens, then join one of our information sessions by registering here. For more information on CKAC, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.