Sunday night, at the behest of @A2GastroBoy, I decided to check out Ann Arbor SOUP at the Blind Pig. For those of you unfamiliar with the SOUP microgranting model, attendees pay $5 for soup and a salad. Four organizations seeking funds give short presentations. Attendees vote and at the end of the night, the group with the most votes gets the money. It's a pretty cool way for projects that are working to improve the community can get a bit of start-up funds.
The group that won on Sunday was a freshly minted U of M Chapter of the Food Recovery Network. The group has worked with Dining Services at U of M to train volunteers and develop protocols for safely recovering waste food from dining halls. The food is then delivered to food gatherers for distribution in the community. Food Recover Network said they would be using the $1,074 they were granted to help cover the cost of aluminum trays they use to transfer food to Food Gatherers. Any remaining funds will be used saved with the hope of eventually buying a freezer that could fit into a van to help safely transport food. I think Food Recovery Network won because they seemed really well organized and could clearly articulate where the money would go. They have spent the last year working with dining services to develop a system to get waste food that complies with OSHA and health codes.
I'm not sure when the next Ann Arbor SOUP will be, but you should totally think about attending. There was a great mix of townies and students there who were all passionate about working to improve our community.