The Food Studies Program is fortunate to have numerous community partners working to address the hunger and nutritional needs of our community. With these profiles, we hope to highlight the work of those partners.
PORTLAND & GORHAM – As the University of Southern Maine’s (USM) dining partner, Sodexo has worked to address food insecurity in the USM community and greater Portland area. Sodexo is a member of the USM Food Security Coalition, a collaboration of campus partners and student organizations working to create a community without hunger or food waste, and has continuously explored ways to divert food that might be wasted to those struggling with hunger.
In November 2017, Sodexo helped establish a Food Security Cooler on the Portland campus. The Cooler is stocked each night with excess food from the dining hall. All of the food is fresh and edible but has passed the sell-by date used internally by Sodexo. Sodexo hopes that the Cooler will also hold fresh produce from the on-campus Community Garden. The Cooler is free, open to all USM community members, and is in the Commuter Lounge (near the exit of the cafeteria) in the Woodbury Campus Center on the Portland campus.
In addition to its work around food security, Sodexo has also implemented several initiatives that are unique to USM. These include a partnership with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to increase Sodexo’s regional seafood sourcing; waste reduction efforts, in which Sodexo has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Sustainable Materials Management Program; green cleaning, an initiative to use cleaning chemicals that are “Green Seal” certified; a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club to train students with the budgeting and culinary skills needed to successfully cook a nutritious, at-home meal; and the Maine Course initiative, which aims to increase purchasing of locally grown, harvested, and produced products. In the Fall of 2017, 23% of food served by Sodexo at USM was locally grown, surpassing the goal of 20%!
To fight hunger in your community, Sodexo recommends offering your time to a local food pantry; learning what hunger looks like in your community (http://map.feedingamerica.org); writing letters to members of Congress; and getting your school, friends, and family involved in fundraising events.
To learn more about Sodexo and their initiatives at USM, visit their website.
Unit Marketing Coordinator, Brandi Haaf, and Office Manager, Lorrie Mininger, prepare shepard's pie for the Boys and Girls Club during the Sodexo Servathon event.
Operation's Director, Olivia Doucette, teaches a member of the Boys and Girls Club Culinary Training Program basic cooking skills.