Food Recovery Network
INITIATIVE NAME Food Recovery Network
UNIVERSITY Brown University
TAGS food recovery | food conservation | food security | homelessness outreach
CONTACT Leah Haykin <>


Food Recovery Network at Brown (FRN@Brown) is a network of students at Brown volunteering to recover surplus food from campus dining halls and events and donate it to hungry Rhode Islanders. Since 2011, FRN@Brown has recovered over 50,000 pounds of food from Brown University dining halls.


40% of all food in the United States is wasted, representing 35 million tons of uneaten food each year. And yet, more than 49 million Americans are food insecure. In the words of a FRN member, “Food security is a basic human right that, given our resources, the entire population should be entitled to.” FRN is a national effort to bridge this divide between food waste and food insecurity. As such, FRN@Brown harnesses excess food supplied by Brown Dining facilities to provide for many of the 1000 homeless individuals in Rhode Island. Through FRN, volunteers have delivered over 50,000 pounds of food from Brown to institutions such as the McAuley House, Urban League and RI Women’s Center.


Every week, teams of volunteers have assigned pick-up shifts where they transfer whatever food is left over after each Brown dining facility closes to a central drop-off location in the loading dock of Brown’s largest dining hall. Volunteers weight, log, and store all food, following food safety guidelines. Each night, a different group of volunteers picks up this food, loads it into a car, and distributes it to FRN@Brown’s various community partners.