Erin Blasko | September 13, 2017
The University of Notre Dame Athletics Department and Levy, the food service provider for Notre Dame Stadium, are partnering with a local nonprofit to reduce food waste, contribute to food security and support job training this football season — part of a broader focus on sustainability campuswide.
With every home game this season, Levy will donate leftover food from the stadium to Cultivate Culinary School & Catering, a local organization that prepares at-risk high school students and adults for jobs in the food service industry.
This includes food that is prepared for catering within the stadium but not served, though not general concessions.
Based in South Bend, Cultivate “rescues” leftover food from local suppliers and then processes and freezes it for resale to food pantries in northern Indiana.
Packaged in recyclable, microwave-safe trays, the resulting dishes and meals cost 75 cents each and provide pantries a low-cost, nutritious alternative to canned and boxed foods.
The organization, which only entered the food rescue space over the summer, ultimately hopes to partner with sponsors to offset the cost of the meals in whole or in part.
“These are catered meals that somebody paid for, so they’re well prepared,” Randy Z, president, co-founder and executive culinary instructor for Cultivate, said of the quality of the food.
The organization has rescued more than 10 tons of food since August, processing 4,000 to 5,000 pounds per week out of a kitchen on Niles Avenue in South Bend, according to Jim Conklin, Cultivate’s treasurer and co-founder.