Campus Kitchen of the Year

Recognized first out of 51 universities by the national office for our innovative solutions to reducing food waste.

Together, We Recover

We pick up unused, quality food from UK Dining, grocery stores, farms and farmers’ markets.

Together, We Cook

Our volunteers utilize the food donations to prepare healthy, balanced, and nourishing meals for a variety of community members.

Together, We Deliver

Our volunteers deliver prepared meals to organizations, as well as to low-income families and individuals.

Together, We Give Back

Our volunteers have an opportunity to continue with involvement during the summer months through partnerships with local organizations.

Together, We Gather

We co-host a dinner series with several campus partners throughout the semester. Gathering at the Table include hands-on cooking, conversation about food systems, and (of course!) a delicious meal!

Student-Powered Hunger Relief

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

It was established in April, 2014 with faculty support from the Department of Dietetics & Human Nutrition. CKUK is an affiliate of the national The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP), which in 2016 recognized CKUK as "Campus Kitchen of the Year" out of nearly sixty across the nation. 

The Need

In the United States, 40% of post-consumer food is wasted each year while 1 in 6 Americans are hungry. Over 750,000 Kentuckians do not always know from where their next meal will come. 1 in 4 of Kentucky’s children lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle.[1]  Over 66% have to choose between food and medical care and, due to limited access to healthy food, over 58% of hungry households have a member with high blood pressure and 33% have a member with diabetes.[2]

Our Solution

Food Rescue

Cooking and Food Preparation 

  • Using kitchen space in 207 Funkhouser in the Department of Dietetics & Human Nutrition, volunteers utilize the food donations to prepare healthy, balanced meals.

Meal Delivery

  • Volunteers deliver, distribute, and enjoy with participants well-balanced meals and grocery bags through established partnerships to children, youth, families, individuals, and older adults experiencing poverty, hunger, isolation, or homelessness.

Empowerment and Education

  • Our volunteers engage in intergenerational mentoring and empower those served with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to live a healthy life. We develop educational materials and programming that address hunger issues. 

As an affiliate, we have adopted the CKP mission to use services as a tool to:

  • Strengthen Bodies by using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in our community;
  • Empower Minds by providing leadership and service learning opportunities to students, and educational benefits to adults, seniors, children and families in need; and
  • Build Communities by fostering a new generation of community-minded adults through resourceful and mutually beneficial partnerships among students, social service agencies, businesses and schools.


November 2014 - Present

  • Meals Served:  8,795 meals
  • Food Rescued: 10,888 pounds 
  • Volunteer Hours:  10,182 hours
  • Clients Served:  300 per month 

Campus Kitchen

In the News

Graduating Student's Research Leaves Mark on Campus Kitchen of UK

May 2017

Anna Townsend, CKUK's Spring '17 Garden Fellow, shares how her research on indoor gardening systems can be used to positively impact CKUK by growing vegetables during the winter.

UK is Home to 2016 Campus Kitchen of the Year
May 2016
Selected out of 51 universities, the Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky has been named Campus Kitchen of the Year, recognizing excellence in operations, partnerships, and engagement.

The Campus Kitchen receives $5,000 grant
December, 2015
Funding from the Student Sustainability Council will help CKUK promote healthy eating, community engagement and environmental sustainability while focusing on improving social cohesion and food security in the Lexington community and campus through student-led service.

Campus Kitchen Uses Un-used Food to Nurture Lexington's Hungry
December 19, 2014
Watch how a new initiative is not only reaching out to help those in need in Lexington, but is also educating students, helping to tackle the issue of food waste and building community all at once.