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Food Recovery Network Reaches 2 Million Pounds of Food Recovered

Food Recovery Network, the nation’s largest student organization against food waste,has recently recovered more than 2 million pounds of surplus food for those in need. Food Recovery Network (FRN) was founded at University of Maryland as part of its Do Good Challenge.

Food Recovery Network engages college students across the country to package perfectly good surplus food from their campus dining halls and surrounding businesses. The collective commitment of these students to fighting food waste and hunger enabled FRN to achieve the biggest milestone since recoveries began.

"This movement is a testament to the dedication of the next generation of leaders to change our thinking on food waste,” said Regina Northouse, executive director, Food Recovery Network. “And at the root, it's a testament to the University of Maryland where Food Recovery Network started as an idea and was fostered by the Do Good Institute to become the largest student movement fighting waste and hunger in America today."

The U.S. food system is marked by an alarming paradox: nearly 40 percent of food produced in the United States goes to waste, while 48.1 million Americans experience food insecurity each year (NRDC 2016; USDA 2015). Food waste is not only a social and economic loss, costing Americans $218 billion every year; it’s also one of the world’s worst environmental hazards. Food waste accounts for 25 percent of freshwater use and constitutes 23 percent of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide (FAO 2013).

In 2011, University of Maryland students Ben Simon, Mia Zavalij and Cam Pascual, noticed good dining hall food ending up in the trash at the end of the night. By the end of the school year, FRN at UMD had recovered 30,000 meals to DC-area hunger-fighting nonprofits. Since its founding through a generous grant from Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, FRN has transformed from a UMD campus club to a 501(c)3 nonprofit headquartered in College Park, Maryland and has 226 chapters at colleges and universities in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

FRN recovered one million pounds of food in 2015, after four years of growth and strengthening their ability to recover more food in their communities. It has taken the organization a little over a year and a half to recover the second million.

Food Recovery Network (FRN) unites and supports college student leaders in the fight against food waste and hunger in America. Since 2011, FRN students have recovered over 2 million pounds of surplus food, that would otherwise go to waste, from their campus cafeterias and local restaurants to donate to hungry Americans. Food Recovery Network has over 226 college campus chapters in 44 states and the District of Columbia. For more information about Food Recovery Network, including how they support businesses who want to do the right thing and recover their surplus food through their program, Food Recovery Verified, visit www.foodrecoverynetwork.org.