Hi, I'm Nick Porath. On this edition of Utah State University's Ask an Expert, USU Student Nutrition Access Center and the USU students providing food to eight area food pantries.
As individuals and families come to Utah State University's Student Nutrition AccessCenter, or SNAC, meet their food needs in the coming weeks, they'll get to enjoy the fruits of the labors of other USU students and community volunteers. The student-led project was supported by USU Extension, the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences, and USU’s Center for Community Engagement, and came about as a way to use the fruit that would otherwise go to waste because homeowners or farmers were unable to harvest it.
This last fall, 294 project volunteers gathered apples and other fruit in cooperation with 89 local fruit tree owners. By the end of October, more than 15,000 pounds of fruit were harvested for donation. The fruit that wasn't high enough quality to donate for fresh eating was made into 259
pints of applesauce made by student volunteers USU dietetic interns. The applesauce was then donated to SNAC at a time where many food resources are in short supply at area food pantries. The project was coordinated by Kara Bachman and Amria Farnsworth, both USU NDFS students. Bachman says she really likes the fact that the fruit goes towards training students and new food production and preservation skills through NFDS and that the food benefits the students and community members in need. Carey Durward, USU Extension nutrition specialist, developed the fruit preservation project aimed to reduce food waste and increase donations to area hunger relief organizations. The program has also been implemented in Utah, Salt Lake, and Davis counties. Durward says the ultimate goal is to be able to provide other groups interested in reducing hunger and food waste with instructions on how to provide fruit that would otherwise be wasted and to do it in a way that helps those in need. James Wirth, the AmeriCorps VISTA who supports SNAC, said the food comes at a good time for the community, and that we've all been able to decrease our draw on the Cache Community Food Pantry, which is helpful to them since special events and other resource-producing activities have been reduced for food banks during these difficult times.