Determine Participating Parties
Before anything, you must identify who the key stakeholders, both on and off campus, and solicit their interest to participate. These may include more than listed below (based on your campus), however, we have found those listed are integral to the success of your event.
- Campus Dining
- Campus Sustainability
- Sustainability Student Organizations
- President/Chancellor’s Office
- Campus Security
- Campus Event Planner
- Local Food Shelters
- Slow Food
- Other NPO’s (i.e. Campus Kitchen)
- Local/Regional Government Entities
Date & Location
The following suggestions are important to keep in mind as you think about the location and date of the event. While the specifics listed below are not required, they may increase the success of your event.
- Temperate weather
- Local harvesting of crops (important for gleaning ingredients)
- High traffic area
- Outdoors – adequate space to serve and for group tables
- Lunch time frame (when the most people are on campus)
- Avoid scheduling during events that may conflict with your event
Creating the Menu
This is where your dining services department is critical. Your dining services have many contacts within their supply chain to assist in providing safe, cost effective food that meets the criteria and the facilities to prepare and store the food appropriately. Based on the sheer volume of food needed to be produced for the event and the complexity of the menu, the process of receiving and preparing food for the event began as far out as 12 weeks before the event. This required coordinating volunteers to prep the ingredient before it spoiled and then freeze until the event. Once you’ve created your menu, be sure to identify which ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and determine the amount of storage available. Because of the menu being 100% from ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted, it is inevitable to have a wide range between when the ingredients are procured. Additionally, they have the facilities to prepare and store the food appropriately. Below are examples by ingredient type used for our event.
This is the most prevalent ingredient category of all and depends heavily on your produce provider and local availability. Your dining services should ask their produce provider to do the following:
- Identify and coordinate gleaning opportunities on local farms they purchase from. Most farmers are more than happy to have student groups glean after they have harvested.
- Request “B” grade products from larger suppliers as needed in your ingredient list. These are products that during typical processing at larger growers would be discarded because it doesn’t fit specific grade requirements.
- Inform your dining services whenever they have impending waste at their warehouse as a result of not moving produce they stock. They will happily give deep discounts on items that are soon to expire or even donate them. (Yield is most likely to be 50% on such products as it is typically overripe when received. So, it must be prepped immediately and properly stored.)
Reach out to your dining services bread provider for “over produced” bread products. Depending on the size of the vendor they can over produce upwards of 1,000 loaves of bread within one production run.
- Typically the bread will be donated
- These items will first be sold at a discount or then discarded
- Waste is a result of shifting demand
This category is generally reserved for “offal,” or parts of animals that have become unappealing to most people these days yet have the same nutritional benefits as more preferable cuts of meats. Below are some additional options for procuring including the less desirable.
- Reach out to local meat processors for any “offal” they can provide. Larger companies have usually solved for these parts and arrange for further processing into other products like animal feed.
- Local meat processors may also have product on hand that is near expiration as well. These are often from order cancellations.
- Bycatch is another option that can be explored. Some companies specialize in supplying these under-fished varieties that are usually discarded at sea because of their low or non-existent value.
Interested in hosting your own Feeding the 5,000? We welcome the opportunity to partner with you for your own F5K event. Contact us here to get started!