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Food Recovery Network Reduces Waste, Impacts Lives

It is estimated that around fifty percent of food in America is thrown away. With statistics this drastic, it is important that actions be taken to lower this number. It is also imperative to let the public know why food waste is an important issue. Food Recovery Network is a nation-wide organization that aims to educate the public on food insecurity, while tackling food waste head-on by hosting recovery projects.

The Food Recovery Network, University of Tennessee chapter focuses on recovering food from football games, restaurants on campus and other campus events. Once the food is recovered, it is donated to various organizations across Knoxville, such as Second Harvest Food Bank and Love Kitchen. After the first five home games, Food Recovery Network recovered 8,862 pounds of food recovered, which is 7,385 meals!

We asked members of Food Recovery Network what a typical recovery looks like after a home game. Katherine Yolitz, the president of the Knoxville chapter, explains that “a typical recovery usually takes place 1-2 hours after the end of the game.”

A group of students meet at PCB, unload food gathered from the Skyboxes in Neyland, then repackage the food to be frozen until Second Harvest can arrange to pick it up from the walk-in freezers outside Thompson Boling Arena. She continues, “a recovery is a great way to meet other students, get service hours, and make an impact.” Michael Lin, the VP of the organization adds that the two hours of work “can be quite lively events”.

The impact Food Recovery Network makes on the community is amazing! Not only are they educating the public about food waste, they are feeding people and keeping thousands of pounds of food waste out of the landfill. When food scraps go to the landfill, they compress and start releasing methane gas, which is a harmful gas to the atmosphere.

Creating a sustainable city takes all types of groups to tackle the issue from various angles. Thank you FRN, and students who have volunteered with them, for making a positive impact right in our backyard!

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