Faculty member fights food waste
Every year in Kingston thousands of pounds of surplus food end up in the garbage. Mary McCollam feels strongly about food security and sustainability, so she volunteers with Loving Spoonful, a volunteer-driven organization that diverts some of those perishable items to local meal programs, shelters and other agencies. Ms McCollam’s involvement with Loving Spoonful has grown since 2008 and she currently serves as the chair of the board of directors.
“I wanted to make a contribution in a small way to important issues such as food security and sustainability. Loving Spoonful’s food reclamation program matched my interests because it enhances healthy food access for low income families while combating food waste and its adverse environmental effects,” says Ms McCollam, an adjunct associate professor in the School of Computing.
Ms McCollam and other volunteers collect surplus perishable food from restaurants, caterers, cafeterias, farmers, wholesalers and market vendors. Loving Spoonful has delivered over 12,500 pounds of this perishable food to local organizations so far this year. Several Queen’s establishments, including the Lazy Scholar, Leonard Hall cafeteria and the Donald Gordon Conference Centre, donate unused perishable items to this worthwhile initiative.
Queen’s students have volunteered to support many of the organization’s different programs. As well, Loving Spoonful hired a Queen’s Work Study student last summer to help with its Grow a Row program, which delivered over 7,000 pounds of locally grown produce to agencies this year. Grants from the United Way in 2010 and 2011 assisted with this and other programs.
The United Way serving Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFLA) has helped Loving Spoonful build capacity and work toward becoming a United Way agency. The directors attend board development sessions and workshops hosted by the United Way.
Queen’s faculty, staff, students and retirees are one of the biggest contributors to the United Way serving KFLA. Queen’s has raised $277,000 of its $320,000 goal to date. Pledge cards can be returned to the Human Resources department (Fleming Hall, Stewart-Pollock Wing) or sent through campus mail.
Visit the Loving Spoonful website to learn more about its programs.