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Feeding the 5,000

the global food waste scandal



An international campaigning event meant to shine a light on the global food waste scandal, champion the delicious solutions and catalyze the global movement against food waste. At each event, a delicious communal feast is served for 5,000 people made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been wasted, bringing together a coalition of organizations that offer solutions and inspire new local initiatives to fight food waste.

Carolina Dining Services hosted a free lunch Wednesday, October 22, 2014 and the entire UNC community was invited to attend this unique, first-of-its-kind meal to be served on a college campus. The free meal was part of the Feeding the 5,000 (F5K) campaign, and the menu consisted entirely of food that would have otherwise been wasted.

Feeding the 5,000 is a worldwide initiative with the goal of empowering and inspiring the global community to enact positive solutions to the global issue of food waste. It began in London and events have been hosted in cities around the world including Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and Sydney. The meal marked the first time such an event was held in a University environment.

In preparation for this large undertaking, Carolina Dining Services team members gleaned fresh produce at farms around North Carolina, salvaging fruit and vegetables left on the field due only to retailers’ strict cosmetic standards or to overproduction.

The menu included a curry made from surplus vegetables, including misshapen potatoes, cooked carrots and blemished tomatoes that were cast out because they were not cosmetically perfect and surplus to requirement. A range of dishes included Brunswick Stew, Jamaican Fish Chowder and Fruit Cobbler. Michael Gueiss, Executive Chef of Carolina Dining Services, led the food preparation. All remaining food was donated to the local Inter-faith Council for Social Service.

Co-organized by Carolina Dining Services and Feeding the 5,000, the goal of the event was to illustrate the unimaginable quantity of food that goes to waste in the world and empower the UNC community on how to think about, reduce and manage food waste. The community was also welcomed to participate in a discussion on these issues later that evening with Feeding the 5,000 founder Tristram Stuart, Sea to Table Director Sophie Waskow Rifkin and Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland.”


Almost 11,000 pounds of food was sourced for the feast! Those 11,000 pounds of food turned into 675 gallons of stew, 6,000 servings of cobbler and over 8,000 toast points. Approximately 700 pounds of food were donated to the Inter-faith Council at the end of meal. All in all, 7,500 people were served a free meal made of food that otherwise would have been wasted.

Although the event is over, F5K hasn’t ended. Over one third of the world’s food is being wasted. Join the global movement against food waste by signing the pledge to reduce your food waste and urging businesses to do the same. As Tristram Stuart explains, “The great thing about food waste is that the problem is edible.”

Interested in planning your own FK5 Event?

Visit our planning guide!