USF Green Changemaker Spotlight: Ayrris Tate, Health Services ‘16
Within minutes of speaking with Ayrris Tate, Health Services ‘16, one can sense her passion for helping others, changing behaviors, and reducing food waste. When Ayrris saw a mind-boggling amount of food being tossed into the trash at the end of the day at a Starbucks, her first reaction was to rant to a friend. After learning about the Food Recovery Network, a nationwide organization run by students that fights food waste and hunger by turning campus-produced food waste into meals for those in need, in 2014 Ayrris moved into action and started a USF chapter of the Food Recovery Network, which has grown into a strong volunteer-based group with a leadership team of six and over 20 volunteers. The students have forged a partnership with Bon Appétit to recover food waste four days a week from USF’s main cafeteria and donate it to partner agencies such as San Francisco Night Ministry and San Francisco City Impact. Up to 500 pounds of food is recovered and donated each week. Collectively, the Food Recover Network has served over 1 million meals to those in need.
Students have the opportunity to get involved with collecting, preparing, and serving food to the community. “I get a really happy high from this work. It makes everyone feel really good,” enthused Ayrris. She believes that it is the little habits, like throwing away good food, that lead to bigger global problems that are annihilating the earth. “We need to change our behaviors because this is the groundwork for true social change,” emphasized Ayrris. According to Ayriss, changing our behaviors is key because they are the root cause of our overproducing/consuming lifestyle.
“I came to USF because I believe in their vision and mission,” explained Ayrris. Her strong passion to save the world and tackle big problems, such as climate change and food waste, has found a great outlet at USF. Next, she is looking to expand the program to source from local restaurants.