Are there ways to simultaneously address food waste and food insecurity at the community level? Introducing – Food Recovery for Rhode Island! A new URI Cooperative Extension Program, Food Recovery for Rhode Island invites people from across the state to come together, learn something new, engage in dialogue, and take action to strengthen the local food system.

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The Course

The six-week Food Recovery Course will help you make the most of your food while exploring the intersection of the food system and the environment.

indicate interest in Fall 2023 Course

About the Course

The six-week Food Recovery Course will help you make the most of your food while exploring the intersection of the food system and the environment. Using the Food Recovery Hierarchy, the course will explore the best actions to minimize food waste in Rhode Island communities. This course will blend research-based information, traditional knowledge, and practical application to help people adopt food recovery practices at home and in the community.

Explore the Intersection of Food and the Environment

Delivered both online and in the field, you’ll have the opportunity to explore various components of the food system in action, from field, to kitchen, to compost facility to landfill!

Engage in a Community Conversation

Engage in a conversation around wasted food solutions with fellow Rhode Islanders! The course is designed to share resources and encourage collaboration. Localized examples and success stories will serve as inspiration for those looking to spark a change in their communities.

Build Skills

Gain valuable skills to bring back to your home, community or careers. By learning to make the most of your food, you can save money and incorporate healthy, seasonal food into your diet. Hands-on sessions in the field and in the kitchen will build skills in:

  • Food preservation – water bath canning, fermentation, freezing and drying
  • Composting at the individual and community scale
  • Youth education
  • Community engagement
  • Food preparation and storage,
  • Farming practices and more.

Volunteer for Community-Driven Change

Graduates of the course will volunteer on service projects that simultaneously increase food access and reduce food waste. These projects will be led by community partner organizations working to increase food recovery through food rescue, gleaning, food preservation, community composting, youth education, community engagement and more! Upon completion of 40 volunteer hours, graduates will receive a certificate of completion and earn the title of certified URI Extension Food Recovery Volunteer.

Who should apply?

Individuals interested in learning something new and willing to volunteer on approved recovery projects in Rhode Island are encouraged to apply. The application process is competitive as there are 40 spaces for participants per session. Financial awards are available. Sessions will be held in September 2021 (hybrid), January 2022 (online), and June 2022 (hybrid). People already involved with our partner organizations are strongly encouraged to apply and return to the community as peer educators. Youth under 18 may participate if accompanied by a parent or guardian during the volunteer internship.

Course Description

Week 1: The Challenge: Food Waste, Food Insecurity, Equity The challenges of food waste and food insecurity as they relate to building an equitable food system; Field Experience: Tour of Rhode Island Central Landfill

Week 2: Wasted Food Solutions: Farms, Schools, Communities Model food recovery solutions across Rhode Island; Field Experience is a tour of a localized food system including a community farm, kitchen and world farmers’ market

Week 3: Food Preservation and Nutrition (Part 1) Food preservation (freezing, drying, fermentation) coupled with nutrition education;
Field Experience in quick and basic at-home food preservation techniques

Week 4: Food Preservation and Nutrition (Part 2) Water bath canning and other food preservation techniques. Field Experience in water bath canning

Week 5: Composting: Residential and Community Scale The science of composting;Field Experience: Tour of residential or community-scale composting operation and composting instruction

Week 6:Inclusive Community Engagement Learn about social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion; Field Experience in 4-H curriculum, practice in community engagement, reflection Graduation