Food Rescue US: This is their story

1.    Summarize your business in one sentence. 

Food Rescue US, a technology driven platform, is committed to ending American food insecurity through direct-transfer food rescue.

saynotofoodwaste.sustainable.endhunger.tech.food.foodwaste.foodrescueus.2

2. How long have you been in business? 

Since 2011.

3. Why did you decide to start the company?

After seeing all the food waste in the restaurant industry, and realizing hunger could be alleviated using logistical software to capture that surplus, we developed an app and started rescuing and delivering food.

saynotofoodwaste.sustainable.endhunger.tech.food.foodwaste.foodrescueus.6

4. What has been your biggest achievement so far? 

Rescuing and delivering 19 million meals to those in need.

5. How do you measure success?

Our technology allows us to capture and really quantify our work data so we know those 19 million meals also means 28.2 million pounds of food, at an estimated value of $48 million, has not gone into landfill. The real success though is that we have been able to provide fresh food to those in need and save a little bit of the planet as well. 

saynotofoodwaste.sustainable.endhunger.tech.food.foodwaste.foodrescueus.4

6. What have you learned in the process? 

That this senseless problem of food insecurity in the US can and will be fixed on the grass roots level. When we all get together and help our neighbors our communities become stronger and everyone benefits.

7. What advice would you give to someone trying to start a sustainable food company?

Well they can certainly contact us if they are looking to start a food rescue program. We are expanding, we currently operate 13 sites and anticipate 25 locations by the end of 2017. We give our app to new partners, train them in best practices, etc., and help them get up and running.

saynotofoodwaste.sustainable.endhunger.tech.food.foodwaste.foodrescueus.7

8. What’s next? Anything else you want to add?

We will continue our national expansion and work until hunger has been eradicated and all of us at Food Rescue US no longer have a job.

saynotofoodwaste.sustainable.endhunger.tech.food.foodwaste.foodrescueus.3

9. Fun question: what was the best meal you ate this week?

Salmon and vegetables grilled and consumed lakeside at a friend’s cottage.


by Alison Sherman, Director of 
Communications at Food Rescue US 

My eyes are open. I’m in shock!

food.recovery.saynotofoodwaste.hunger.sustainability.happy2What I’m about to say must stay a secret. A truth that we all know, but don’t talk about. A taboo of sorts. Something along the lines of: we know that processed food and tobacco is bad for us, but we still consume fast food and smoke cigarettes.  Both the industry and the public knows about its harms, but does it anyway.

So, you’re wondering, what does this lady want to share that seems so shocking? And truth be told, for those involved in the food redistribution and food donation industry, this is probably old news. But for someone just coming into this field, it’s a major wake up call!

The secret

As some of you may know, every weekend I help redistribute surplus food from an organic local market to a non-profit that weekly prepares and shares meals with the homeless. The food that I handle is fresh, colorful, organic and expensive. Most people who work and don’t rely on assistance wouldn’t be able to buy these produce on their paychecks. So when I drive with a trunk full of expensive and valuable produce to be donated to those in need, instead of being thrown in the trash, I feel pretty darn happy and proud of myself!

Well, this week I had a chance to speak to a few non-profits as I expand the food redistribution network of Say No To Food Waste. And while all the non-profits I spoke with told me they are happy to receive more food, I was saddened by the type of food their clients wanted to receive.

It turns out, individuals who are faced with food insecurity want comfort food. They DO want help, but they DON’T want to change their diet or taste buds. Many are used to processed, fried, salty and sweet meals. So when they see colorful, fresh and organic food, they A) Don’t know what to do with it, or how to cook it, and B) They feel that it’s not as tasty and therefore want to throw it away.

WHAT?

saynotofoodwaste.hunger.foodwaste.sustainability.love.volunteer.happy.1That’s just insane! Here I am, so happy to be rescuing fresh produce that is extremely expensive, and helping people not just eat, but eat healthy, and then learn that the people I’m working hard for desire foods that aren’t healthy (non-organic, non-vegetarian, fast food). It really blew my mind!

Of course, there is no one here to blame but ourselves. As I mentioned earlier, we all know that tobacco and processed foods are bad, but most of us still smoke and eat fast food. Our choices and motivators have shifted from long-term results to short-term pleasures. Looking at the state of affairs of our environment and economy, this is very well and easy to see.

But I couldn’t believe that individuals who are in need, and rely on assistance, were voicing their concerns about the food they were receiving. That it was too different for them and they didn’t know what to do with it. This challenge requires immediate action of changing people’s behavior. But that’s a hard thing to do.

Solutions?

I feel that the best solution for this problem would be to make cooking fun! Make discovering new dishes a form of travel that most people can afford. And create curiosity for people around new tastes and sounds. Such as crispy red peppers crunching and bursting with flavor in your mouth. Or sliding a celery stick through soft and rich humus, sprinkled with olive oil.

All these things make me happy! They make me feel good, and I realize that I was taught to eat local and fresh from childhood. Most people weren’t. But I am positive that once people open the veil in front of their eyes and accept truth for what it is, we will stop killing our bodies with toxins from food and tobacco, and begin to cherish ourselves and the planet.

I hope I’m not wrong on this one.

With much love,
Hokuma

Local iniciatives are sometimes the best option.

A couple of weeks ago we have posted an entry about a legislation that exists in the USA for more than 16 years now. Even though it is a federal law, it didn’t meet the expectations that where given to it. Many entrepreneurs from the food sector don’t even know about the fact that they can give away food without taking responsibility for it. It is not clear why this law is not promoted in the right way. For example we have talked with one of Costco store managers, who told us during a conversation about food waste, that he had never heard of such a law. It was a shock for us. Both of us (Hokuma and I) thought that there is a huge need for spontaneous initiatives, like Say No To Food Waste, in order to start making a change to our food system.

At the end of the past year we heard a story about a local initiative in Belgium. Frédéric Daerden the mayor of the municipality of Herstal imposed on 12 local supermarkets to donate their excessive stock to food banks. Moreover, if any one of them refuses to comply with the new requirements, they will have its environmental permit taken away. “The project starts from the observation that on one hand there is a need to supply food banks, and on the other there is surplus food. We wanted to provide an answer to this problem at the local level, by fighting against waste and at the same time strengthening local solidarity” said the MEP Frédéric Daerden. The quality manager of Carrefour Belgium, Mr. Léglise said, “Our policy is to systematically give surplus food to associations that are part of the food banks. The proposal of the mayor of Herstal was not a problem, as it also reduces the cost of waste disposal.”

This great initiative has already been submitted for revision to the European Commison. As Frédéric Daerden is an EU deputy it is more probable that it will find an easier way to be implemented on a higher scale. It is another example of how local initiative can spread beyond a given region. Politicians all around the world should follow this fine Belgian man’s initiative. Eventually the phrase “Act locally, Think globally” is true and this news is another proof of that. Convince your local deputies, talk to them, they do have much power but it takes will to encourage it!

References:

1. http://www.dhnet.be/infos/belgique/article/418460/fini-le-gaspillage-dans-les-grandes-surfaces-d-herstal.html

Posted by Piotr Wielezynski

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act

Bill Emerson.FoodDonation.SayNoToFoodWaste.Share.Give.Love.USA.FoodSecurity.Hunger.SustainabilityThe name of this act is quite long, but it’s the most important and the only law in the world to facilitate and give incentives to organizations, businesses and people that wish to donate food.

The act was passed in 1996 under Bill Clinton mandate. It was named after the Republican Bill Emerson, who encouraged the proposal, but unfortunately died before it was passed. It is unsatisfactory that the only law of this type was implemented 16 years ago. But what does this act consist of?

This act facilitates food donations by helping donors be exempt from liability of giving away food. It ensures that the only time donors can be held liable are only in cases of gross negligence. Since the law is lengthy, we will extract the most important sections of the bill to show you what it entails. Don’t worry, it is easier to read than traditional law acts.

(1) LIABILITY OF PERSON OR GLEANER. – A person or gleaner shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the person or gleaner donates in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.

(2) LIABILITY OF NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION. – A nonprofit organization shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the nonprofit organization received as a donation in good faith from a person or gleaner for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.

“(3) EXCEPTION. — Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not apply to an injury to or death of an ultimate user or recipient of the food or grocery product that results from an act or omission of the person, gleaner or nonprofit organization, as applicable, constituting gross negligence or intentional misconduct.”

Many businesses or organizations that deal with food don’t even know about this law. It is a shame, because with all the negative opinions that are being created about the USA, it is the only country that has such an act. Please help people learn more about this ground breaking act that has only been passed in one country. If more countries would implement such legislations we would definitely move further ahead on the issue of food waste and food insecurity.

Help to spread the message!! And learn more by reading the whole act on this link.

posted by Piotr Wielezynski