College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Nutrition & Food Science

What FAN is doing

Cooking Matters at UMD.  Inspiring the Community to Improve their Dietary Patterns through Smart Shopping

Margo Ruth

Margo Roth, graduated from the Dietetics Program in May 2015. While in her undergraduate, Margo also served as UMD Ambassador to Cooking Matters and coordinated UMD presence in this outstanding community outreach program.

Cooking Matters is a community program founded by Share Our Strength as part of the No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America. For 20 years the program has been dedicated to empowering families with skills to stretch their food budgets and cook healthy meals. By providing hands-on instructional material and grocery store tours, the program inspires individuals and families to shop healthy while saving money. 

Caitlin Smith

Share Our Strength awarded UMD Cooking Matters Volunteers grant funds to expand the outreach to the low income communities. Caitlin Smith, senior dietetics student is certified as a Cooking Matters Grocery Store Tour Leader. The Pop Up Grocery Store Tour is modeled after a grocery store tour and allows the program to be brought to local communities where it can accommodate a large group of people.

Over the summer, Caitlin volunteered as a Pop-Up Tour Leader at Charles Carroll Middle School in New Carrolton, MD. During this event, Caitlin helped to empower 200-250 people in adapting healthy eating patterns.  She finds this innovative way of educating the community helpful to participants, as it educates clients on how to healthfully and economically purchase food items from our 5 main food groups. This type of tour provides food samples and healthy recipes for the healthful food discussed at each station. She notes that many of the participants were very receptive and engaged in the discussion. She defines the experience as a very effective and rewarding way to inspire the community.



Taylor Chan Senior Dietetic Student

Acting President: UMD Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network is an organization that unites students on college campuses to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food, which would otherwise go to waste, from their campuses and communities and donating it to people in need.  University of Maryland Alumnus, Ben Simon founded Food Recovery Network in 2011. As the organization expands into campus chapters nationwide, UMD continues a strong presence in the UMD Food Recovery Network under the guidance of Taylor Chan, Acting President, and Senior Dietetic Student.

Taylor Chan began volunteering for Food Recovery Network, as a freshman, in 2012. Inspired by the organization, she rose to the leadership position of President. She is currently in her second year as Acting President of UMD Food Recovery Network. The UMD Chapter of Food Recovery Network recovers food from various locations around campus, including the 251 Dining Hall, home basketball and football games, and UMD campus catering. Volunteers then donate the food to two food shelters including, Christian Life Center, and the Family Crisis Center in our community.

In her role as President, Taylor’s main focus has been expansion of the program. She is currently coordinating with UMD South Campus and North Campus dining halls, UMD Hillel, as well as with various restaurants on Route 1, in preparations of establishing new recovery locations.  She has been over-seeing food safety standards involved in packaging and transportation the food products, and continues to promote the organization to the community through outreach events.  

Recently, UMD Food Recovery Network hosted an event where FRN student volunteers not only recovered food, but also assisted in serving the food at each shelter. Students even had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy the recovered meal with the participants they have been serving.

Taylor says, “It was really great to have the chance to see and talk with the people benefitting from the program. We are not only working towards eliminating food waste, but also contributing to eliminating hunger in community as well. These kinds of events motivate and inspire me to keep striving to improve the program and empower others to join the movement.”

Currently, UMD Food Recovery Network has about 200 active members and estimates of 1,000 lbs of food a week to donate to those in need. Through its efforts, the UMD Chapter has largely contributed to the 1,000,000 lbs of food recovered by FRN National since its founding 4 years ago. Yet, there is always a need for more support.

Taylor is welcoming new volunteers to contribute to the effort. She is currently coordinating a fundraiser for the organization and would sincerely appreciate campus-wide support. We have provided the link to access the fundraiser as well as the Facebook group for this organization on UMD campus. 

Fundraiser link:



Step Out to Fight Diabetes

Each year, the Food and Nutrition Club participates in Step Out to Fight Diabetes team! Step Out to Fight Diabetes is an annual fund raising walk conducted by the American Diabetes Association.  We walk at this event every year, and have a really great time doing it. 

The funds we raise support the American Diabetes Association's important research, education and advocacy efforts, as part of its mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

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