What is UMB FREE?

UMB FREE (Food Recovery + Environmental Eating) is a food rescue initiative aiming to minimize food waste and feed students at UMB.


This initiative aims to address issues of food insecurity on UMB’s campus. According to a 2020 UMB student survey

  • 29 percent of respondents worried about food running out before having money to buy more
  • 22 percent of respondents had food run out before having enough money to buy more
  • 33 percent of respondents couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals

At the same time, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten. 22 million pounds of food waste comes from U.S. colleges each year1, accounting for the largest proportion of landfill deposits and an average annual loss of $100 billion.2

UMB FREE is working to bridge the gap between these two issues by connecting leftover food from events with students who will happily eat the rest!

Check out this wasted food scale from the Environmental Protection Agency, which prioritizes actions that prevent and divert wasted food from disposal. UMB FREE is one of the great ways we are trying to divert food waste on campus!

Food scale that shows the preferred ways to reduce and divert food waste.

How can I participate?

Whether you’re a student or event planner, head to our UMB FREE Platform.

Event Planners
  1. Click on the “Event Planner” button on the UMB FREE Platform to access event planner forms, resources, and badges.
  2. Review the “Event Planner Training” PDF under resources prior to submitting your first event.
    Use the “Alert Form” under Forms for leftover food at your event.
  3. Have yourself or a designated person monitor food pick up.

Reminder: Pre-registering is not required. When you submit the Alert Form on the day of your event, your notification goes out within a few minutes. However, if you’d like to promote your event as a partnership with UMB FREE, and plan on submitting an alert ahead of time, the badges available to download in the UMB FREE Platform. This is optional, but recommended.

  1. Click on the ”Student” button on the UMB FREE Platform to access student forms and resources.
  2. Use the ”Sign-Up” link to sign up for the UMB FREE Mailing List.
  3. When a future event on campus has leftover food, an event planner fills out a form notating:
    • Location
    • Type and amount of food leftover
    • Pickup time window
    • Available dietary accommodations
  4. The form gets sent directly to you.
  5. You go to the event location.
  6. You get FREE FOOD! (first come, first serve)

Chart describing how UMB FREE works for students and event organizers

Click here for a PDF overview of the program: UMB FREE Program One-Pager