1. Summarize your organization in one sentence.
We are a nonprofit social enterprise whose mission it is to fight poverty, hunger, and food waste.
2. How long have you been running your enterprise?
I started Kitchens For Good in March 2013, and we got our first kitchen in September of 2015.
I had for far too many years been appalled at the amount of food waste in the Hospitality Industry where I had spent most of my working career. I could not reconcile that enormous food waste(we send to landfill nearly 40% of everything we grow in America) with the high number of hungry people in America. One in 5 Americans is food insecure. That fact should be inconceivable in America, let alone our reality. What really made me leave my comfortable, well-paying job started with conversations with my then 10 year old son. During our drives to school in the morning we talked about his new school, his thoughts about High School in the near future, and what college and life might look like beyond that. We talked a lot about the concept of Right Livelihood…that what you do for a living should give back more to your community than it takes away. I came to a point where I had to live it and not just talk about it.
4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
The team that we have put together at KFG. We have a group of absolute rock stars. They continue every day to challenge me and make me better.
The number of lives changed by the graduates of our programs. Let me be perfectly clear that what we do at KFG is to provide an opportunity. Our students are the ones doing the hard work to succeed.
6. What have you learned in the process?
It has reinforced for me the saying that “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” What we do is only possible because of the team we have.
7. What advice would you give to someone trying to start a sustainable food enterprise?
Find the revenue first. You cannot have a positive impact on your community unless your model and your organization are sustainable.
8. What’s next?
We are in the process of acquiring another facility so that we can expand our programs and our social enterprise. Our intention had always been to scale to the point where we could have a substantial impact.
Don’t wait, just go for it. The world is waiting for you to make a difference.
10. What was the best meal you ate this week?
I’m an opportunistic shopper. This week my local organic market had some amazing garlic sausages on sale. I grilled them, roasted some Yukon Gold potatoes, and made an arugula salad with dressing made with extra mustard to compliment the sausages.
Chuck Samuelson, founder/president of Kitchens for Good