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Fighting Hunger and Reducing Waste in Michigan by Addressing Strategic and Operational Challenges in Measuring Food Accessibility (2020)

Co-Learning Plan 2020

Authors: Monireh Mahmoudi

Summary

The aim of this project is to eliminate food waste by making excess food accessible for people in need. A food donor (e.g., a farm, a retailer, or a catering) donates some food to a food bank. Then, the food bank will quickly decide to send the food to distribution agencies or to composting facilities. For this decision making, the food bank should consider various factors such as environmental (e.g., harsh weather conditions), physical (e.g., personnel and mobility resources), social (e.g., recipients’ food restrictions due to various cultural and religious backgrounds), and economic (e.g., monetary budgets). We develop an analytical framework that can provide an applicable guideline for food banks to decide about the final destination of the donated food (with respect to the availability of the resources, as well as quality, volume and type of donated food). This can result in a significant cost-saving and improve the accessibility of people in need to excess food.

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Author Information

Dr. Monireh Mahmoudi, Assistant Professor of School of Packaging, is interested in using and developing operations research and management science techniques that can have significant global environmental benefits. Her current research focuses on the application and development of operations research methods in logistics and operations planning in recycling plastic packaging.