Food is one of the most important things in life. Not only do you need it to live, but it’s also really good. But according to “MinnPost,” 38.9% of parents in the Twin Cities struggle with the inability to feed their families, and national surveys have found that 48% of college students experience food insecurity. Thankfully, one student organization is working to change this.
Augsburg’s Campus Kitchen is a student organization founded in 2005 and works to alleviate food scarcity issues both at Augsburg and in the wider community. The organization, which is part of a larger project called The Campus Kitchen Project that spans over 50 colleges and universities, has run food drives at Augsburg as well as maintained the community garden and worked with shelters, churches and community centers to distribute food to people in need.
“We work on both learning about and combating food injustice issues, both on campus and in the neighborhood,” says Claire Norman, a Greencorps staff member with the Sabo Center who works with Campus Kitchen. She says that the organization’s goals are to combat food waste as well as increase food access in the neighborhood for both students and members of the broader community.
The organization recently raised $1000 on Give to the Max Day as part of their partnership with New City Backyard Farms, an organization that teaches people to farm in their own backyards in order to “build healthy livelihoods and nourish the neighborhood,” in the words of their mission statement. Campus Kitchen has also partnered with athletics teams to collect what Norman says is “a lot of food” for their pantries. Furthermore, they have increased their number of meal shifts this semester to every weekday, allowing for more distribution of food.
Norman strongly recommends students get involved with Campus Kitchen. She says that the organization is “always looking for more volunteers” and that volunteering with Campus Kitchens is “super convenient” and allows opportunities to meet new people and help with food scarcity in the community. She adds that transportation to volunteer events is covered by the Campus Kitchen van, and that volunteers also get fed at meal shifts.
Last semester, as previously reported in The Echo, Campus Kitchen’s community garden was “razed” in order to build the new Hagfors Center. However, come spring, it will be reopened and students will once again have the chance to grow fresh produce — although, instead of planting in the ground, Auggie growers will be using raised beds.
Campus Kitchen serves community meals at several partner sites including Trinity Lutheran Church, the Brian Coyle Community Center, Ebenezer Tower, the Peace House homeless shelter and at the senior high-rises in the Seward neighborhood.