From time to time I come across inspired stories challenging me to consider using food waste to solve a hunger problem as opposed to a disposal or diversion from landfill problem. Dana, the founder of Food Shift, has worked for over a decade to develop long-term sustainable solutions to recover and redistribute excess food waste. She has developed a great, scalable model that uses food abundance to feed the hungry rather than go to waste.
Food waste is a major, major issue, not just nationally but globally. Especially considering how many around the world die of starvation, Food Shift hopes to shift the focus and money spent on disposal to a new form of thinking and recovery.
Feeding People Not Trash Cans…
Despite national efforts to alleviate hunger and reduce food waste, these problems persist and are in fact more heightened than ever before. We are throwing away 40% of all the food we produce while 50 million Americans don’t have adequate access to food.
In addition to the absurd amount of lost nutrition and environmental damage as a result of food waste, we’re spending $750 million each year just to dispose of all this food.
What if businesses and municipalities were to shift just a fraction of these funds towards the recovery and redistribution of excess food instead?
This requires a shift in our thinking around both food recovery and food assistance. For decades, we have relied on charity groups to address these massive challenges of food waste and hunger. Despite their obvious value, most food recovery groups in the U.S. provide a free service, receive limited financial support and depend on volunteer commitments to operate. This structure is unsustainable and limits their ability to expand, increase impact, purchase necessary infrastructure, provide wages, and effectively tackle a crisis of this magnitude.
That is why Food Shift is working so hard to shift the paradigm around food recovery and food assistance from one that is volunteer and hand-out based to one that focuses on jobs and self-sufficiency. Food Shift is developing innovative food recovery models that generate revenue so individuals can be trained and employed in the process.
This idea, to recover and redistribute food makes sense. It is a way to reduce waste disposal costs, a way to receive tax deductions, and benefits the community and environment. Food Shift’s strategies embrace the potential of food to be used as a tool to empower people and strengthen communities.
On behalf of Food Shift, please join them in the movement to shift the abundance of food in our nation away from trash cans and toward empowerment and opportunity. Together we can increase awareness about the social and environmental impacts of wasted food and inspire us all to be part of the solution!