Dozens of people crowded around a single refrigerator loaded with an assortment of vegetables on the third floor of the Student Activity Center Friday for the grand opening of the UW Food Shed.
The food shed—a project started by UW-Madison senior Hannah DePorter—was created to bring Wisconsin agriculture to campus. DePorter said she hopes that this will make the campus more food secure, with the added benefit of providing fresh produce to campus for free.
DePorter said she got the idea for the food shed from her work in a plant breeding lab. She explained that there are a lot of excess vegetables produced for research, and that this produce could get distributed back to campus.
“I have learned about food systems and food security in different classes and I have worked directly with vegetables,” DePorter said. “I wanted these two intersections to become a tangible thing that people could take advantage of.”
Those who attended the UW Food Shed grand opening had positive comments about the event. Solveig Hanson, a graduate research assistant at UW-Madison, said she supported the idea of a free food source.
“I see this as bringing a vision into action,” Hanson said. “It’s not rocket science to take extra food and give it to the people who need it. It’s really impressive that Hannah put together something like this.”
Joanna DePorter—Hannah’s mother—also shared her outlook on what the UW Food Shed was able to accomplish, praising the power of the student organizations.
“It’s really amazing to see what [student organizations] can do when they work together,” Joanna DePorter said. “Obviously all these people standing in line and taking out produce was the outcome of what something like this can be, which is awesome.”
The Food Shed has potential to grow beyond the walls of the SAC. According to the Office of Sustainability, three more refrigerators will be installed in Science Hall, Allen Centennial Gardens and Moore Hall respectively.