38: Regina Anderson, Executive Director of the Food Recovery Network

Regina Anderson

Regina Anderson joined the Food Recovery Network as the Executive Director in 2015 and is responsible for setting the vision, strategy and fundraising efforts for Food Recovery Network. Regina works with the amazing team at national headquarters, stakeholders and partners around the country to achieve ambitious goals. Overall, FRN’s goal is to support the higher education to be the first sector where food recovery is the norm and not the exception. But Regina won’t stop there. Businesses, events, public institutions also have a role in reducing food waste at the source. They also have a role to recover their surplus food and Regina wants to ensure they are integrated within the vibrant FRN network to make that happen.

About FRN:

Food Recovery Network is the largest student movement fighting food waste and hunger in America.

In 2011, Ben, Mia, Cam, and Evan, students at the University of Maryland, College Park noticed good dining hall food was ending up in the trash at the end of the night. By the end of the school year, FRN at UMD had recovered 30,000 meals to DC-area hunger-fighting nonprofits. 

During the Spring semester of 2012, the second FRN chapter was founded at Brown University. UMD and Brown soon joined forces with two other campus food recovery programs at University of California, Berkeley and Pomona College.

In May 2013, the Sodexo Foundation provided FRN with founding funding to hire a full-time staff and transition into a professional nonprofit! Since then, we’ve swept the nation and made higher education the first sector where food recovery is the norm and not the exception.

Website: https://www.foodrecoverynetwork.org/

Our Conversation:

I first met Regina when I heard her on a panel at the International Society of Culinary Professionals conference in NYC. The topic was food waste and therefore, food recovery. Food waste is not just an issue of throwing out uneaten or spoiled food at home, but actually the overproduction of prepared foods at a commercial scale. The panel covered both aspects, and I was intrigued on the topic. Regina, the executive director of the Food Recovery Network, spoke about the efforts of that organization to reduce food waste on a commercial scale by “recovering” it – transferring leftovers to non-profits and other associations that would get the food to people in need.

Some topics we covered:

  • Regina’s background & how she got involved with FRN
  • How FRN got started
  • The transition and growth of the organization
  • What is food recovery and why is it needed 
  • How FRN recovered more than 30,000 meals in its first year, alone
  • What is a hunger fighting partner
  • What is Food Recovery Verified
  • And more!

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