UCO Broncho Bites Program Cuts Food Waste on Campus

News 9 - November 28, 2022 6:14 am

UCO photo by Daniel Smith.

 –

The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) is looking for more sustainable practices to incorporate on campus.

One scoop at a time, UCO is finding a way to repurpose meals that don’t make it off their shelves.

“One in seven Oklahoma’s go to bed hungry. We’re top five in the nation for food insecure people,” Mark Walvoord said.

Walvoord said food insecurity and food waste isn’t just an Oklahoma problem. It’s worldwide, so they created “Broncho Bites” using their campus dining facilities for solutions.

“They give us their off the line prepared food each day so we go over with student, faculty and staff volunteers that have signed up to help us right after the lunch session ends. We package food in compostable food containers,” Walvoord said.

The program is funded through a $32,000 grant received from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Walvoord said it’s been a month since the program has started and business has been steady.

In just the first week of opening, UCO said there was more than 150 pounds of food packaged from several dining facilities on campus. The university said this is food that would more than likely just end up in a landfill.

On average, it’s about 30 pounds a day of food that we’re able to get.

Students and faculty are able to pick up packaged meals from the Broncho Bites refrigerator. The only thing you need to get access inside is your UCO ID card.

“Even if you don’t consider yourself food insecure, we’ve had faculty staff and students who are so grateful just to have a ready convenient quick way. They didn’t get away from their office because they were working to get lunch now they can grab something real quick,” Walvoord said.

The UCO ID card also gives folks access to a camera where you can see what’s on the menu.

“They’ve been really excited to see what menu items are coming up, what’s coming up and to run over here and grab it, “Walvoord said.

 

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