Back in 1989, the concept that you could use recovered food to fight hunger was just a rebellious idea in
the head of a renegade nightclub manager, Robert Egger; but he ran with that idea, and founded DC Central
Kitchen, which is now widely regarded as one of the leading social enterprises in the world.
In 2001, Robert and the team at DC Central Kitchen knew we needed to bring this successful idea to
more communities nationwide. Instead of simply recovering wasted food and delivering it to those in
need, they brought that food back to a central location and transformed it into balanced, nutritious
meals. They saw that in every community there is a school, and in every school, there is a kitchen
space that goes unused in the evenings and on weekends—a Campus Kitchen.
That’s why at The Campus Kitchens Project, we empower students to transform their own schools into hubs
for fighting food waste and bringing balanced meals to people who need them. Thanks to our innovative
online tools, any interested student or school can bring this proven program to their campus.
Today, The Campus Kitchens Project is the largest student movement to fight hunger and food waste
in America. Each year, student volunteers recover over one million pounds of food that would have
otherwise gone to waste, and turn that food into healthy, balanced meals. Those meals, made up of
free food, free kitchen space, and free volunteer power, are valued at over a million dollars and are
transforming communities and developing leaders for the future. That’s a sustainable solution to hunger.
The nation’s leading nonprofit empowering students
to create sustainable solutions to hunger and food waste.
Photo from the Campus Kitchen at Troy University
OF THE FOOD we produce.1
Each ton wasted accounts for the release of
greenhouse gases, including methane, equivalent to
2.5 TONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE.2
existing assets to
fight hunger today
While the need in a community is often
all too obvious, the existing assets that
could help address those needs often go
unnoticed. At each Campus Kitchen, our
student leaders recover food that would
have gone to waste and put university
dining halls to use after hours to prepare
meals for those struggling with food
insecurity. In addition to creating a
lean operating model, we are teaching
students to see wasted resources as a
sustainable solution to community issues.
“Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.” Dana Gunders, Natural Resources Defense
Council. NRDC Issue Paper, August 2012.
“Food wastage footprint: Impacts on natural resources - Summary report.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2013.
1 IN 7 AMERICANS
is FOOD INSECURE.
For each pound of food we waste, we are wasting
17.3 GALLONS OF WATER we used to produce that food.4
Going beyond the
meal to fight hunger
We know we can’t end hunger with food.
The Campus Kitchens Project teaches
students to assess the specific needs in
their community, and develop programs
that address the underlying root causes
of food insecurity. From nutrition
education classes to senior hunger
outreach, from community gardens to
policy events, our students deliver more
leaders to end hunger
in the next generation
Whether they are managing volunteers
in the kitchen or developing relationships
with community organizations,our
student volunteers are learning
entrepreneurial and leadership skills
that they will carry with them into future
careers. Our Student Leadership Team
structure ensures that students who
come to volunteer have opportunities to
learn and to lead.
“Unlocking Value Through Food Waste Reduction.” ReFED, 19 October 2016, www.refed.com/?sort=economic-value-per-ton
“Reducing Food Loss and Waste.” Brian Lipinski, Craig Hanson, James Lomax, Lisa Kitinoja, Richard Waite and Tim
Searchinger, World Resources Institute. Working Paper, June 2013.
This food waste costs us
Across the country, student leaders are teaming up with their university
administration, community nonprofits, and their dining services team to build
a more sustainable approach to addressing food waste on campus. Here at The
Campus Kitchens Project, we’ve figured out how to create a student-run kitchen
that will keep food from going to waste, and turn it into nutritious meals for
those who are struggling with food insecurity. In the process, we are developing
student leaders and empowering them to create programs that open pathways
between college and community. It’s student-powered hunger relief.
HOW DOES ITWORK?
All the tools and resources you need to launch a Campus
Kitchen at your school, develop partnerships, and get
you off the ground are free through our website at
campuskitchens.org. By creating your own online planner,
you can work as a team to track your progress toward
launching your Campus Kitchen along a clear roadmap.
We even offer startup grants of $5,000 to help you get up
WHATARE THE BENEFITS?
Whether you have an existing food recovery program,
or are just considering getting started, joining The
Campus Kitchens Project will ensure you have the
resources to make it a success for the long-term. As
part of this movement, you’ll have access to trainings,
conferences, and leadership experiences that will
help you find success after graduation regardless of
your career path.
We help you partner with:
– by offering annual grant opportunities
and AmeriCorps members to support your
program and grow your impact.
– by sharing resources on Asset-Based
Community Development to help you find
the right partners to effectively address food
insecurity in your community.
– by sharing our best practices and industry-
approved food safety system.
– by offering trainings, conferences, toolkits,
online volunteer management, and membership
in a national movement.
Photo from the Campus Kitchen at Baylor University