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Sustainability at Wake Forest

Posts Tagged ‘Campus Kitchen’

Where are they now: Emily Bachman

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Emily Bachman (’13) was a prominent contributor to Wake Forest’s sustainability efforts throughout her four years as a student. She served as the president of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), a shift leader and summer intern for Campus Kitchen, a regular volunteer in the Campus Garden, an intern with ARAMARK, where she worked to support sustainability in dining, and a semester-long intern with the Winston-Salem Sustainability Resource Center. In addition to her ambitious extracurricular activities, she completed a major in history with a double minor in environmental studies and anthropology.

After graduating last spring, Bachman took some time to travel. She spent two weeks in Israel with Birthright (accompanied by former fellow sustainability intern Sanders McNair) and six weeks driving across the country exploring several cities and national parks along the way.

Post-excursion, Bachman landed in Brooklyn where she is serving as the AmeriCorps Volunteer & Special Projects Coordinator for Rebuilding Together NYC. Rebuilding Together NYC is the New York City affiliate of a national nonprofit that is located in over 200 cities across the country. They are a “safe and healthy housing” organization, serving low income, elderly, handicapped, and veteran homeowners. They focus on critical home repairs including accessibility modifications for the physically disabled, and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, Rebuilding Together NYC focuses on energy efficiency upgrades and weatherization to lower energy consumption in homes. She is also working on an independent project incorporating sustainable landscape design, including rain barrels and native plantings, into the organization’s future projects to support stormwater retention.

In the coming years Bachman plans to attend graduate school for a degree in Sustainable Urban Design and Policy and to find a career that allows her to pursue “city planning through a sustainable lens.” She says that being able to see different cities and compare the strengths and weaknesses of their designs while traveling has helped further develop and affirm her aspirations.

She says that her liberal arts education fostered her passion for sustainability and prepared her for post-collegiate life. “It taught me to think critically and holistically. My liberal arts education allowed me to explore my interests from a variety of perspectives and to understand the many different causes and potential solutions to the social and environmental issues we face today.”

What inspires you to be sustainable?

For as long as I can remember, sustainability has mattered to me. I value human life and I do not like the idea of people suffering, now or in the future. I understand that the way human beings, especially in the western world, are living today will cause suffering in the future. Rather than wait for the consequences and begin to react when it is too late, we should work immediately and proactively to develop sustainable lifestyles.

What is the biggest issue facing our generation?

Apathy. It is so obvious that we are doing things so wrong and that we need to change, but because most people are not confronted with the impacts of their unsustainable lifestyles directly on a daily basis, they are apathetic. They don’t care and they continue with the status quo. Not enough people are passionate enough.

What is your number one tip for living sustainably?

Don’t buy what you don’t need – I try to remind myself of this constantly, especially now that I am on an AmeriCorps stipend.

By Andrea Becker (’16), Staff Writer

Summer Interns Serve Winston-Salem

Monday, June 24th, 2013
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David Hale (’15) prepares to deliver to the SECU House

Summer isn’t necessarily a vacation for Wake Forest students.  From late May to early August, The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest, a student-run service organization, maintains full operations, serving 154 meals per week to underserved members of the Winston-Salem community.  Unlike during the spring and fall, when Campus Kitchen is run by a six-member executive board and a 24-member leadership team, during the summer three interns are at the helm of one of Wake Forest’s flagship service organizations.

The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University is an affiliate of the Campus Kitchens Project, a national organization dedicated to fighting hunger and reducing waste through food recycling programs on college campuses.  The Campus Kitchen model takes surplus prepared (but never served) meals from campus dining facilities and distributes these meals to partner agencies serving local communities.  In addition to this basic model, the Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University partners with the Fresh Market, rescuing edible produce and baked goods and delivering  the food in bulk to agencies serving populations with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University also partners with the Campus Garden, incorporating fresh, campus-grown produce into balanced meals.

Brittany Forniotis (’15), David Hale (’15), John Iskander (’16), and Monica Hedge (’14) make up the summer 2013 team of Campus Kitchen interns.  Brittany, who is also spending her summer conducting original research on American slave narratives, splits five cooking shifts and five food delivery shifts with David, a premedical student who is also currently conducting summer research.  John serves as the Fresh Market intern, running five food rescue shifts per week and researching the feasibility of food trucks as a means of increasing access to nutritious food. Monica will replace Brittany as one of the cooking and delivery interns for the second half of the summer.

According to the Campus Kitchens Project’s national guidelines, all meals must include a protein, a vegetable, a starch, and a dessert.  Because there are fewer students on campus during the summer, the Fresh Food Company has less surplus food to donate to Campus Kitchen, so the interns must creatively combine resources to meet the organization’s standards.  Brittany, who plans many of the summer menus, relies heavily on produce grown in the WFU Campus Garden.  Most recently, she and summer volunteers prepared a huge salad with roasted beets, greens, and beet greens from the Campus Garden.

David, who served the salad at the SECU Family House, an agency providing housing for the families of patients who travel to Winston-Salem for medical treatment, reports “Everyone is always really happy when I say we grew these beets in our Campus Garden…they were so impressed that it was full circle, that we are using what we have and being sustainable.”

Partner agencies rely on Campus Kitchen to stay open during the summer, but David explains that the summer also provides an opportunity to reach new volunteers.  He says “it is also important for us to educate volunteers, whether they are at a summer camp here, faculty and staff, or just anyone in the Winston-Salem area, to realize that [food insecurity] is an important issue in our region that many people don’t know about.” He also explains that bringing new volunteers into Campus Kitchen “is really about removing the stigma from certain areas [of Winston-Salem] or the stereotypes someone might associate with a particular type of person.”

In the context of cooking shifts, Brittany takes care to talk to volunteers about “where the food is going, what sort of people are receiving the food, and what sort of health problems they might have.”  She explains the intentional choices she makes based on the population being served, such as sending reduced dessert portions and low-salt meals to senior housing where many residents suffer from diabetes and hypertension.

In the context of delivery shifts, David explains the goal of a particular partner agency and how food from Campus Kitchen fits into that goal.  For instance, at Prodigals Community, a faith-based drug rehabilitation facility, David explains to volunteers how the Sunday night meal provided by Campus Kitchen allows Prodigals to allocate funds towards programs that facilitate residents’ recovery.

When asked what the Campus Kitchen needs from the Wake Forest community this summer, the interns offer a single emphatic answer: volunteers.  David says “We need people who are willing to be flexible, to try something new…to go out of their comfort zone, to get out of the Wake Forest bubble and realize that these places exist in Winston-Salem.”

To volunteer for Campus Kitchen, contact Brittany Forniotis at fornbn11@wfu.edu.

By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustainability

Fresh Market partnership saves tons of food from dumpsters

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Campus Kitchen has long been known for efforts in food justice on campuses across America. The university’s branch expanded these efforts in February through a unique partnership with high-end artisanal grocery store, The Fresh Market.

Campus Kitchen Coordinator Shelley Graves heaves bags of food into the Student Life van on a daily Fresh Market delivery.Through Campus Kitchen, between 400 to 650 pounds of food each week are saved from the Winston-Salem Fresh Market dumpsters and distributed by three local agencies to families in need.  Though The Fresh Market has outlets across the Eastern US, only the Winston-Salem store has entered into a partnership of this sort largely because of the initiative of one of its part-time employees, Tracy Stegman.

Stegman, who works as a university Licensure Officer in the department of education, made the immediate connection between the role Campus Kitchen plays in food redistribution and the wasteful practices of her one-time employer. After several months of negations with the company last year, an agreement was reached and the first ever food drop occurred in February 2010.

Campus Kitchen serves as the middleman in this new program. Fresh Market employees gather the food from the shelves and ready it for departure. Campus Kitchen volunteers sort through the produce and deliver it to one of three agencies – El Buen Pastor, The Potter’s House, or The Shalom Project – and the agencies in turn distribute the food according to the most efficient means for their particular community.

Any produce that cannot be given in good faith to the organizations is used for compost in the Campus Garden and a community garden at El Buen Pastor.

The high-end groceries collected and sorted by Campus Kitchen volunteers play a key role in promoting food equality for those in need in Winston-Salem, according to Campus Kitchen Coordinator Shelley Graves said.

“Typically folks that are food insecure are relying on food banks and government program to get their food. This means a good majority of the food available to them is not perishable,” she said.

“For a lot of children in these families, this creates a definition of food for the rest of their lives. [The Fresh Market] food really expands [the definition of] food for these folks and removes some of the socioeconomic boundaries in the food system,” Graves said.

Caitlin Brooks, Outreach and Communications Intern

Faces of Sustainability: Shelley Graves

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Campus Kitchen coordinator, Shelley Graves, is nearly incapable of wasting food, which makes her a good fit to lead the organization on campus responsible for redistributing dining and catering waste and channeling local food resources into the hands of those most in need. “I really like to eat, and I really like food. There are a lot of hotbeds for sustainable work, but food is the most essential resource. We all need to eat,” she said of her passion for food justice.

Graves, who received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wake Forest, has a long history of involvement with various non-profit groups including Washington D.C. based organization, Brain Food, a program that teaches low-income high school students much needed cooking skills. Yet she had never worked with Campus Kitchen before becoming coordinator in the summer of 2009. The now national organization began in 1999 as a student driven service program at the university called Homerun.

Campus Kitchen has grown a lot as an organization since its grassroots conception at Wake Forest. Today students at 25 schools (including one high school) across the country volunteer to make sure that unserved excess food doesn’t end up in the landfill but in the stomachs of those in need. As part of her full-time position, Graves clocks a lot of hours in the field each week, supervising students during the academic year and sorting and delivering food herself during the summers.

The university’s branch of Campus Kitchen currently serves 8 partner groups from the city of Winston-Salem. Five receive catering and dining hall extras that are distributed directly through the facility. The other three receive produce, dairy, and breads from The Fresh Market to ensure that each family that visits the partner organization receives some healthy fresh foods for the week. Produce from the campus garden is also funneled into the Campus Kitchen distribution system.

While Graves finds the physical tasks of delivering the food to grateful families highly rewarding, she says the best part of her job is getting to work with students to help them blossom into new leaders. “I really think that is the only way to make any sort of large scale change toward sustainability. We help these kids become leaders and they become foot soldiers who educate their peers and help fight this fight,” she said.

Outside of work, Graves strives to take small steps toward sustainability herself. Her love of cooking encouraged her to start a garden which, she says “was a total failure. I guess that’s my dirty little secret. I really want to be a green thumb, but I’m a terrible gardener,” she said.

Not to be deterred, she buys almost all of her food locally during the growing season and hopes to start canning her own vegetables next year. She can also often be found scouring thrift stores and vintage shops for unique used clothing. “People don’t usually think to buy used clothing to live sustainably, but it makes a difference,” Graves said.

Caitlin Brooks, Outreach and Communications Intern