Food Rescue Gives 20 Million Pounds Of Surplus into Meals For Those in Need

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The Food Network recently aired an episode of the competition Chopped, contestants were told to make a dish using a basket of random ingredients like bacon, mangoes and banana bread. Now, imagine the same challenge, except the basket had to be replaced by 1000 pounds of discarded food.

The Pittsburgh nonprofit 412 Food Rescue had a challenge ahead of them but one that they were ready to take on. They connected with hundreds of local businesses, finding out that hundreds of pounds of good surplus foods were available for donation every day. By using its own app, the group ended up putting together the largest volunteer-led food transport network in a single urban region.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a kitchen anywhere in the region that would be able to accommodate the extremely large gifts coming from big donors and turn those into single-serving meals.

So in 2019, the organization decided to open it's own kitchen called the Good Food Project. Paying zero money for food and they weren't creating any waste, the kitchen is a model for effective food recovery and distribution.

Food waste makes up about 25% of all material in landfills—more than any other single source of waste—and when it rots, it’s a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Good Food Project prevents waste by transforming food that might go to the landfill into healthy, heat-and-eat meals and shelf-stable items packaged in compostable containers. These meals are then distributed to nonprofit partners serving the needy.
The donations come from partners like Gordon Food Service, which may find themselves with food that is still perfectly good to eat, but cannot be sold due to aesthetic standards, sell-by timelines, or transit mishaps.


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