The Go Green Initiative is thrilled to spotlight Megan Shih, a Local Leaders of the 21st Century alumna who now works as an External Partner and Donor Coordinator for the UC Davis Food Recovery Network (FRN). Megan is a fourth year student at UCD studying biotechnology and statistics, and back in 2017, she was vice president of Amador Valley High School’s Local Leaders club.
Megan told us that her work with the Go Green Initiative helped prepare her for her position in the FRN, as well as other work she has done. “My work with Local Leaders and GGI prepared me to always look for a sustainable angle in everything I do. From working with my PI to establish better waste-stream management in our cancer genetics research lab, to recruiting Davis Farmers Market food recovery partners, I look for ways to apply sustainable change in every and all aspects of my life.” Megan reflected on one of her fondest memories of her time as a Local Leader, saying, “My favorite memory in Local Leaders was the 2017 trip a small group of us took to speak at the CRRA conference in San Diego! It was my first taste of an ‘official business trip.’” At the conference, Megan spoke about the structure of Amador’s Local Leaders club, as well as its accomplishments and goals for the future.
UC Davis’ FRN reduces food waste by redistributing surplus food from campus and community eateries. “The items collected from dining halls, coffee shops, and mini-markets around Davis’ main and veterinary campuses… are donated to organizations that work to increase food-aid resources in the surrounding Davis/Sacramento area,” says Megan. “A large focus is to reduce UCD student food insecurity, so a large portion of FRN‘s recovery goes towards The ASUCD (Associated Students, UC Davis) Pantry and some assistance-based graduate student housing programs.” Two hundred and thirty colleges across America have FRNs, and UC Davis’ FRN, founded just two years after the national nonprofit was created in 2011, is one of the most well-established in California. Megan told us that “since 2013, FRN has recovered about 80,000 pounds of food (that’s about six large, adult elephants)! In just 2020 alone, FRN has managed to recover 20,000 pounds.”
As an External Partner and Donor Coordinator, Megan organizes donations outside of UCD campus partners. “For instance, I work with restaurants and cafes from downtown Davis to create a recovery and donation relationship with UCD FRN, The ASUCD Pantry, and occasionally the Freedge,” Megan says. “The goal of my work [is] to expand
FRN efforts outside of on-campus eateries. There are so many more opportunities to reduce food waste in the greater community and increase recovery and donations.”