Editorial: Free Food at JHU offers sustainable solution to campus food waste

April 13, 2017

Free Food at JHU, a new food waste initiative, recently launched a pilot version of its program on campus that informs Hopkins students about leftover food after events. The initiative, started by recent graduate Nemo Keller and the Office of Sustainability, sends email and text message alerts with the amount of food left over and its location.

Students must sign up for the program to receive these alerts. The pilot program was run during SOHOP on April 5. The primary goals of this program are to reduce food waste and encourage sustainability at Hopkins.

The Editorial Board commends this program and its dedication to reducing food waste, especially given the number of events on campus that use food to encourage turnout. This initiative is another step toward becoming a more environmentally friendly and sustainable campus, something that we care deeply about. We commend Keller and the Office of Sustainability for working hard to get this program started.

Initiatives like Free Food at JHU are a part of a greater trend worldwide. For instance, the French National Assembly passed a law in May 2015 banning French supermarkets from disposing of unsold food and instead requiring them to donate the leftover food to charities or animal shelters. The legislation has two aims: to encourage sustainability in the food industry and to assist those suffering from hunger.

While Free Food at JHU is a good start, there is more work to be done. As similar laws and initiatives to reduce food waste become more common, Baltimore and the United States should all consider adopting policies that improve efficiency. And because these initiatives are cheap, convincing Americans that they are a good idea will be relatively easy. No one likes to waste food.

In Baltimore, food deserts, or areas in which healthy food is unavailable, are common. Residents of these areas suffer from malnutrition at a higher rate than Baltimoreans living in other parts of the city. Food waste programs are absolutely critical to ensuring that residents throughout Baltimore have access to quality food.

The Editorial Board wishes Keller and the Office of Sustainability luck on their trial run and hopes to see it become finalized in the coming months. We would also like to see this initiative become a major presence on campus, and we encourage all students to sign up to receive the alerts.

We hope that this program will encourage the administration to make reducing food waste a priority at Hopkins and to consider how they can address the food desert crisis in Baltimore.

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