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Auburn University Campus Kitchen awarded funding for hydroponic towers to continue its end hunger initiative

Published: November 21, 2022
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The Campus Kitchen, or CKAU, was founded on Auburn University’s campus with two goals in mind—minimize food waste and eliminate food insecurity in the Auburn community. Recently, that effort was bolstered with a big boost of funding for the creation of hydroponic towers on campus, allowing the organization to grow its own produce.

“The goal of the towers is to provide additional nutritional support to our base of over 70 students who rely on Auburn Family meals to fill the gaps in their weekly nutrition, while also creating community and fostering cross-cultural exchange by allowing students to choose and spearhead what is grown,” said senior biomedical sciences student and CKAU Vice President of Campus Affairs Phillip McCain.

Through funding from Auburn University’s Tiger Giving Day, CKAU received more than $6,000 for the hydroponic towers to be used for growing produce to supplement the Auburn Family Meals program. CKAU volunteers will be in charge of maintaining the towers, allowing Auburn students hands-on experience in hydroponic farming. Currently, CKAU is planning to grow lettuce, bok choi, spinach, arugula, peppers and various herbs this season.

In addition to working with community partners, a primary focus of CKAU is the Auburn Family Meals program, a program with a “no-questions-asked philosophy,” as described by McCain. Through this program, any food-insecure member of the Auburn Family can receive a meal hassle-free.

“I want people to know that Campus Kitchen doesn’t just serve people in the surrounding community. Our Auburn Family Meals program seeks to serve students and faculty who are also facing food insecurity,” said senior microbiology student Barrett Maloney, CKAU vice president of nutritional programs.

CKAU has 86 trained shift leaders who lead volunteers in a wide variety of shifts, ranging from picking up from dining halls, packaging meals, delivering meals directly to those food insecure in the community, and soon, in volunteering with the towers. With available shifts every day of the week, it’s easy to get involved.

“Joining the Campus Kitchen is one of the best choices I have ever made while at Auburn,” said McCain. “This organization has taught me so many skills, given me friends for life and shown me new perspectives that I would not have had otherwise.”

Anyone in need of a free meal, no-questions-asked, can reach out to McCain at ppm0007@auburn.edu or Maloney at bom0005@auburn.edu.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.

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