The University of Wisconsin-Madison has created a food resource that gives students and faculty access to free vegetables that otherwise would be composted or discarded.
The UW Campus Food Shed opened last week on the Madison campus. The produce is provided by agriculture researchers at the university and local farms with excess crops, and students and staff members can get some of the fresh vegetables from refrigerators at four locations—the Student Activities Center, Science Hall, the Allen Centennial Garden and the Horticulture Building.
The project will provide healthful, affordable foods for students' diets, and will make the university's agriculture research more sustainable by eliminating food waste, says Hannah DePorter, a UW-Madison senior who started the Food Shed.
The idea came to her while traveling for one of her classes to different agriculture research stations run by the university.
“While being in the fields and weeding and harvesting there was just a lot of stuff left to compost,” DePorter says. “I was just thinking about how all that food could be given to more people.”
DePorter received a $5,000 grant earlier this year to initiate the project.
At the food sheds, students can expect to find crops commonly grown in Wisconsin—beets, carrots, onions, squash, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, oregano, basil, dill and cranberries.
DePorter says she expects produce will be available through the program from May to November.