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40% of the food produced in the US is wasted while 50 million Americans are food insecure. Despite national efforts, these problems are intensifying and taking a huge toll on the environment and the health of our communities. For decades, we have relied on charity groups to address these massive challenges and it’s clear that we need to develop more sustainable, scalable and effective strategies. Extreme food waste in the presence of hunger is one of the most disturbing, and yet solvable, paradoxes of our time and one that is of critical importance for people, the planet and the economy.
Food Shift is developing a food recovery model that will reduce food waste, feed the hungry and provide jobs. Food Shift is working with Andronico’s, a grocer with 5 stores in the Bay Area, who is willing to pay a fee-for-service for Food Shift to customize a daily food collection program for their surplus food. This model helps the grocer reduce disposal costs and receive a tax deduction while the revenue generated allows for financial sustainability and the capacity to train and employ a disadvantaged individual from a partner agency – providing both immediate food assistance and long term skill building for self-sufficiency. We aim to create a food recovery service sector as an extension of our current waste management system and as a way to create jobs in the green economy.
Food Shift is changing the paradigm around food recovery and paving the way for a new service sector to emerge. In year one Food Shift aims to recover food from 5 Andronico’s locations. The impacts include: thousands of pounds and dollars of food rescued; revenue generated to support wages for vulnerable populations; increased access to nutritious foods leading to improved health; and a sustainable food recovery model developed which can be replicated. Food Shift is a triple bottom line solution that could expand across the US, employing people, transforming businesses, cutting waste, feeding the hungry and reducing carbon and methane emissions from transport and rotting food.
A key component of Food Shift’s program is collaboration with existing food assistance centers that have resources like vehicles, workers, storage and refrigeration. Food Shift ensures buy-in and support and leverages these available assets toward the shared purpose of reduced food waste, increased food access and employment. We provide a service that operates within the food establishment’s preferences and the fee-for-service model ensures professional and reliable pickups. We will carefully track costs and cost savings associated with the program to demonstrate financial viability for all partners. We prioritize making this program a win-win-win for all parties.
The success of this program will be based on:
• Thousands of pounds of nutritious food rescued and redistributed to communities in need will be carefully logged and tracked with each pickup from food establishments.
• Providing paid, part-time employment (20 hours a month) for 2 drivers by June 2014.
• Each program, after the pilot phase will generate enough revenue to cover costs and receive a profit.
• Positive financial benefit for grocer from both reduced waste disposal costs and tax deductions.
• Documenting process, challenges and insights, and costs to formulate a model that can be replicated.
• Exposure in media to promote business model and engage additional clients.
This award would further legitimize and endorse Food Shift as a leader in the food movement and help elevate the urgency of developing strategies to tackle hunger and food waste in ways that are more effective. Providing this honor to Food Shift will allow us to ensure more people eat good food, reduce food waste and protect land, air and water for future generations. Food Shift is at a tipping point with this work and this award would indicate the support for a food waste reduction social enterprise. These funds would cover our year-one costs in order to pilot our program, assess costs and impact, develop a model with best practices and roll out to additional stores.
Monday, April 22
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at 12:00 PM PDT
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Tuesday, July 02