The Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky (CKUK) is a student service organization that provides a sustainable approach to reducing food waste while also providing healthy meals to those struggling with hunger.

CKUK is an affiliate of the national The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP), and has likewise adopted the national mission.  CKP strives to strengthen bodies by using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in the community; empower minds by providing leadership and service learning opportunities to students, adults, seniors, children and families in need; and, ultimately build communities by fostering a new generation of community-minded adults.

Specifically local to UK’s campus, CKUK has set four main goals for their outreach within Lexington community. CKUK’s first goal is to expand the repurpose of food waste from UK Dining facilities and other on-campus dining facilities (for example, sorority and fraternity houses with in-house kitchens). To achieve this, CKUK picks up unused, quality food from campus dining providers, as well as from local grocery stores, food banks, farms and farmers’ markets. Volunteers then use kitchen space in the Department of Dietetics & Human Nutrition to utilize the food donations and prepare healthy and balanced meals. CKUK’s second goal is to deliver and distribute well-balanced meals through established community-based partners in Lexington. Volunteers deliver prepared meals and grocery bags to children, youth, families, individuals and older adults experiencing poverty, hunger, isolation or homelessness. CKUK’s third goal is to develop educational materials and programming that address hunger issues on campus, in the community and across the globe. By engaging in intergenerational mentoring, CKUK volunteers empower those served with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to live a healthy life. Lastly, CKUK works to partner with other on-campus hunger organizations and initiatives, such as the Big Blue Pantry, to support a food secure campus.

The need for organizations like CKUK is tremendously large. Over 750,000 Kentuckians do not always know when their next meal will come and one in four children in Kentucky lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle. Over the course of the 2014-2015 school year, CKUK was able to recover 2,190 pounds of prepared food, receive 940 pounds of donated food and glean 553 pounds of fresh produce. CKUK served 2,721 meals and saw an increase in knowledge of healthy meals from the older adults that were served through the organization. In addition, 45 percent of the older adults served ate or drank more fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, lean meat, whole grains, or water as a result of CKUK’s outreach.

Students interested in becoming involved with CKUK can contact Amanda Hege, Director of Community Outreach, Dietetics & Human Nutrition at or Derian Taylor at Volunteers can sign up online at

The Campus Kitchen - Students re purposing food

The Campus Kitchen

Author: Cara Croley
Contact: Cara Croley,
Terms: DHN