Kate Flynn, Susanne Lee and partners bring community fridge to campus

Student Kate Flynn cuts the ribbon for the Black Bear Community Fridge
Student Kate Flynn cuts the ribbon on the new Black Bear Community Fridge

Food Rescue MAINE student Kate Flynn and team leader Susanne Lee worked with Sodexo Dining Services and other key partners to introduce a UMaine community fridge initiative that offers free, surplus cafeteria food to anyone in the UMaine campus community.

The new Black Bear Community Fridge, located in Memorial Union, officially opened at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30. The refrigerator will be supplied and managed by Sodexo with support from the Mitchell Center’s Food Rescue MAINE initiative, students, the Black Bear Mutual Aid Fund group, the UMaine Green Team and other organizations.

Flynn, a senior studying political science, spearheaded the effort to reduce food waste and feed the campus community as part of her internship with the Mitchell Center.

“With data showing that over 30% of the food produced in the U.S. is never eaten, a community fridge is a great solution for redirecting potentially wasted food to feed people. By decreasing the amount of perfectly good food thrown away, we also decrease the methane emissions that food rotting in landfills produces. We can take care of each other while also taking care of the planet,” says Flynn.

Flynn will also research the efficacy of the fridge, collecting data on exactly how much food waste is reduced and the community benefits.

Excerpted from UMaine News