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Broncho Bites Launches

Oklahoma is one of the top five states in the nation for food insecurity, and it is estimated that 1 in 7 Oklahomans goes to bed hungry. However, over 40% of materials in municipal solid waste (the stuff going to landfills) is food or other organic waste. If we just cut down on 15% of food waste in the U.S., we would cut hunger in half.

UCO started helping with this issue by opening the Central Pantry in 2012, and now services have expanded with the launch of Broncho Bites, a food recovery program on our campus!

Broncho Bites launched on October 24, 2022 when our campus food vendor, Chartwells, started donating leftover, off-the-line food each weekday after lunch. Volunteers pack this food in compostable packaging at Ayers Kitchen, bring it over to the Broncho Bites refrigerator outside NUC 150, and an alert goes out to UCO students, faculty, and staff to tell them food is available.

Students, faculty, and staff swipe their UCO ID card, take one or two containers, and usage has been great with over 60 users and 161 pounds of recovered food so far. Not only has that 161 points been diverted away from landfills, where it would breakdown and release the potent greenhouse gas methane, but even more food scraps and those compostable containers have been deposited in a compost bin at the Nigh University Center.

The community is noticing this outstanding program at UCO, thanks to some great press:

Find out how to sign up for Broncho Bites alerts and how to volunteer at http://go.uco.edu/bronchobites.

photo of Broncho Bites launch team, funding agency representatives, and President Neuhold-Ravikumar, August 2022
Pictured are part of the Broncho Bites team, the UCO President, and the representatives from the funding agency, that helped launch Broncho Bites. From left to right: Julio Mata, Chelsea Ratterman, Libby McCaskill (Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality), President Neuhold-Ravikumar, Jimmy Givens (Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality), Mark Walvoord, Nicole Doherty, and Erin Clemons. (Not pictured Susan Woods and Caleb Howard.) Photo by UCO Photo Services.