University of Minnesota Dining Services has partnered with Food Donation Connection (FDC), a national network that serves as a liaison between food service organizations and restaurants and social service agencies, to help feed the hungry by facilitating the safe donation of wholesome prepared food to local non-profit organizations. Now surplus food prepared by UDS will benefit the local organization Urban Ventures.
A study done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010 found that more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated nationwide, more than any other material category but paper. As is the case with virtually all large-scale dining operations, food commissaries or buffet-type restaurants, surpluses of prepared foods are inevitable despite even the most careful menu planning. UDS has partnered with FDC to implement a food donation program on UMN's campus to ensure that excess food reaches those in need within the local community.
The Food Donation Program developed in conjunction with Food Donation Connection ensures that all the food donated to local agencies meets stringent food safety and quality standards. All donated food items are frozen prior to transport, so local hunger-relief agencies can distribute the food based on their specific schedules. In addition to identifying a local agency approved by the health department, FDC supports location management and provides donation tracking reports.
CityKid Java Coffee is a business endeavor designed to fund social programs for Urban Ventures. All CityKid Java coffees are “true trade;” meaning, they’re purchased at or above fair trade industry cost. Every dollar Urban Ventures earns from CityKid Java sales funds their community programming. UDS serves CityKid Java coffee in residential restaurants, Bistro West Restaurant and the Arboretum Restaurant at University of Minnesota's Landscape Arboretum. In 2012, we purchased 4,623 pounds of CityKid Java coffee.