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Food & Poverty

Worcester Food Security Project by WPI Students

Food sustainability focuses on the production, consumption, and disposal of food. This starts with the use of natural resources and ends with the recovery or final disposal of food. Diverting and reducing food waste saves organizations money, has the ability to help people, and conserves resources (EPA). Food waste produces methane in landfills contributing to greenhouse gases. Food waste can be donated, composted or used in anaerobic digestion to produce energy.

Chartwells Catering manages WPI’s Dining Services.

Dine on Campus is available to browse daily menu items for each dining location.

Food Waste Management at WPI

Currently, WPI sends its discarded food waste to Tyde Brook Farm in Holden, MA for animal feed.

The Food Recovery Network donates surplus food from dining halls around campus to local homeless shelters in the Worcester area. The Friendly House in Worcester supplies meals for 25-40 families per day.

WPI’s Green Team provides suggestions on reducing your environmental impact from the food industry by eating less meat, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, using reusable containers and reducing food waste. 

Project Clean Plate is an event by WPI’s Green Team where people in Morgan Hall POD with no food waste are given a raffle ticket with the potential to win prizes. This found that 42% of students at WPI waste food with 0.16 lbs wasted per person. 



The WPI’s Project-based learning model is a strategy that helps its students recognize community needs by understanding the intersection of social problems and engineering projects. Professor Martin Burt is a writer of the book ” Who Owns Poverty?”. During one of his campus visits here at WPI, he said, “WPI’s Project-Based Learning model, like Poverty Spotlight, helps students understand the needs of people and why it is important to not come up with a top-down solution. Instead of saying, “Hey, I have a solution.” WPI students ask, “What do you need?”. Henceforth, the IQP & MPQ projects at WPI bring home the accomplishment of helping students understand how the engineering solutions created in the lab can affect the community.