Tasty Waste Lunch: Feed people, not landfills

Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and Dining Services offered a free lunch to UConn student at Wednesday on the fairfield way, helping people to be aware of the food waste in daily life. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and Dining Services offered a free lunch to UConn student at Wednesday on the fairfield way, helping people to be aware of the food waste in daily life. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

Fairfield Way outside of the library was a bit busier than usual at lunch hour on Wednesday due to the Tasty Waste Lunch, a free lunch made only from food that would have otherwise been wasted.

Members of the University of Connecticut including head of Dining Services Dennis Pierce as well as Rob Landolphi, head of the Culinary Development Team, and all the cooperative companies and farms donated food to make the lunch possible.

With the air filled with all kinds of good smells students began to line up even before the event started. Posted at the entrance to the buffet style event was the menu of the day’s food lineup, including where the ingredients came from like stale bred from Panera to make the blueberry bread pudding.

The menu offered an apple pear cucumber aqua fresca, a summer Provencal vegetable soup, a gluten free Brunswick stew, Southwestern Beef Chili, whole kernel corn bread and warm blueberry bread pudding with ice cream for dessert. Many of these options were even gluten free as indicated on the menu.

Keeping reducing waste in mind, students were free to pick and choose little portions served on recyclable cups and plates on a tray that would be returned and used again.

This lunch was designed to educate and feed students with food that would have otherwise been thrown away for various reasons. Some businesses must obey certain laws or policy that forces them to discard otherwise completely safe and edible food.

The event showed attendees that their thrown out food could be made into something tasty.

“The food was good, really good. Better than the dining halls,” said Arpit Dave, a seventh semester biomedical engineering major.

“It is so nice to see such a big effort from all the different companies to come together and make such an educational experience for everyone.”

Food waste problems are not just facing farms and grocery stores, there are factors of food waste in almost every sector of food production, from farmers, distributors, truck drivers, in homes and even food banks like Foodshare.

Food banks often suffer during this time of year, the harvesting season, because of the huge surge in fresh foods in circulation. This increase can cause many logistical problems for them. Food comes in larger quantities that their refrigeration cannot accommodate.

This time, the tasty waste lunch was put together to help find a happy stomach for all the food that would have been wasted overflow. “It’s an awesome event to promote food sustainability,” said Holly Chase, a seventh semester healthcare management major.

When interviewing Landolphi, who is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University’s culinary arts program, he was beaming with pride and had a big smile on his face as he watched the students line up all around the seal.

“It is such a nice day for an event like this. I love the weather, I love the turnout, and I love how willing all these students are to try all this food that would have otherwise been garbage.”

It seems like the event went even better than expected. Their goal was to serve at least 1,000 students a free food waste lunch, but as 1 p.m. approached and the culinary staff was finishing up, they had managed to feed over 1,200.

“There should be nothing left,” said Landolphi excitedly, knowing there would be zero food waste from the lunch.


Dan Wood is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.wood@uconn.edu.