Northwestern will host a Food Waste and Hunger Summit in early April to bring together students and experts interested in solving the related problems of food insecurity and food waste.
The summit, co-sponsored by the Food Recovery Network and the national Campus Kitchens Project, will bring together different host organizations, speakers, Campus Kitchen chapters from around the country, student leaders and local interest groups.
Viktorya Tannenbaum, president of the NU branch of Campus Kitchens, said NU was chosen to host the summit because it has one of the largest chapters of Campus Kitchens in the country.
In addition to using extra food from dining halls to help members of the Evanston community in need, Tannenbaum said the NU branch has also grown in recent years through the creation of partnerships and additional events throughout the community.
“We’re trying to get the word out to get more people to come and attend the event, especially people who may not be aware of these certain issues or involved in these issues, because we want to spread this mission throughout our community and other communities,” Tannenbaum said.
The event, scheduled for April 5 and 6, is open to all members of the NU community who pay a $35 registration fee.
In addition to working to increase awareness about the summit, the NU branch of Campus Kitchens is connecting with local businesses and other related student organizations on campus, such as Wild Roots, in preparation for the event. The national organization of Campus Kitchens is in charge of planning workshops, choosing workshop facilitators and organizing speakers, including food justice activists Robert Egger and Jonathan Bloom.
Tannenbaum said she thinks workshops during the summit will benefit the NU community and help members of Campus Kitchens learn how to improve their own branches.
“I think there’s a lot of opportunities for growth and education and understanding and how to better our own organization as well as how to partner with other organizations,” she said.
One topic in particular Tannenbaum hopes to learn more about at the summit is implementing a nutrition education curriculum. NU’s Campus Kitchen recently started a program to bring nutrition education to Dawes Elementary School and Family Focus, an Evanston nonprofit that helps low-income families.
Sarah Suh, a member of the NU Campus Kitchen leadership team, said the organization’s community outreach efforts are part of what make NU stand out from the more than 30 chapters of Campus Kitchens across the country.
“We’re coming together to show them what Northwestern has done,” the Weinberg senior said. “We do other programming events (and) a lot of community outreach that not many of the other chapters do.”
Suh said she is excited for NU students to use the summit to learn more about Campus Kitchens and hunger problems in general.
“It would be cool to use this opportunity to get more student volunteers,” she said. “Hunger or food insecurity, this problem isn’t really so far from us. It’s right in our backyard, and they can get involved to help.”
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