Category Archives: Champions

Waste Not, Want Not. Really. Part Two.

New strides are being made to cut back on food waste!

We at Lust for Cooking rejoice!

As we mentioned in our previous installment on food waste (to catch up, mustard, click here), there are two major holes in the system where perfectly good food slips through our fingers and into the landfills: The Retail and The Consumer. In our last post, we focused a great deal on what you, as the consumer, can do to help close this gap. In this installment we will look at some new developments in the retail world.

Denmark

Denmark has opened a new, non-profit grocery store, WeFood, that exclusively sells food that would otherwise have been thrown out. How does that even make sense? Well, the thing is, there are a lot of reasons, as NPR point out, that a grocery store would toss perfectly good food:

“Those items might include treats for a holiday that happened last week, a ripped box of cornflakes, plain white rice mislabeled as basmati, or anything nearing its expiration date.”

Through the tireless efforts of a volunteer force, those food items are located and transported back to WeFood, and then sold at a heavily discounted rate. But the store is so popular, across economic borders, that the sheer logistics of keeping the shelves stocked has become daunting. But they are optimistic that these details will become easier as relationships are established with other retailers. Still, as the Danes are passionate about conserving food waste (They’ve managed to cut their country’s food waste by 25%. No small feat.), lines are forming out the door.

Boston

A similar store has opened up in the Boston area as well. Daily Table was established by the former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch. They receive food donated by wholesalers and markets alike, making the prices substantially lower than other stores in the Boston area.

In addition to selling groceries they also sell prepared meals. The menu changes each day, as it is dependent upon what food is donated, but that way they can be sure that all the food that comes in goes to use.

Unlike WeFood in Denmark, Daily Table does not entirely rely on volunteers, but it still struggles with the logistics of locating donors and transporting the food.  If the experiment is successful they home to expand to other areas.

New York

Logistics seem to be the key issue for those who are trying to make surplus food available to those who need it. That’s where Rescuing Leftover Cuisine comes in.  They are a non-profit based in New York but also operating in 11 additional cities. Their entire purpose is to solve these logistical issues through such services as “food waste consulting, excess food delivery, co-branding services, and tax credit assistance.” With their services, an organization like WeFood or Daily Table can operate smoothly and at low cost.

Keep up the good work. We at Lust for Cooking salute you!

For more facts on food waste, and how to prevent it, check out this Australian based (and similarly titled) infographic.

Featured image provided by Pixabay.

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Farming for the Hungry

Today, we at Lust for Cooking salute another Food Champion.

Jonathan Lawler owns a large farm in Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis, and he is using it to feed the hungry in his area. Formerly a for-profit farm in the agro-business, he has converted it into a non-profit that specializes in filling a vital need – a need he didn’t know existed until his son mentioned something interesting one day after school.

He young son came home one day and said that another kid at school had to take food home from the food pantry (major props to this school for having a food pantry, by the way, a growing trend in public schools for the students in need to use on an anonymous basis).

This shocked Lawler, who found it hard to believe that anyone could be going hungry in a farming community. But of course, the farming business has changed hasn’t it? You can no longer pass a farm while walking to school and pick a stray strawberry or green been from the side of the road. Today farms are encouraged to mass-produce a single crop. By the the government. Really. Specifically corn and soy (and we’re not talking the yummy kind either), because they can be sold in bulk to food processors to make cheap sugar substitutes and oils.

Realizing this, Lawler not only converted to a non-profit, but diversified his farm so that the hungry will have access to the nutritional foods they need. And he has plans to grow! Check it out:

Keep up the good work!

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Feeding More Than Stomachs

At Lust for Cooking, we would like to salute a new Food Champion.

Episcopal Community Services in Kansas City, Missouri has launched an innovative food kitchen that does more than settle a growling stomach. The kitchen is run like a traditional restaurant with servers and table service. This allows the homeless that come by in search of meal to experience the same self-worth as the employed. “It doesn’t cost anything extra to serve with dignity,” says the CEO, Beau G. Heyen.

In addition, they have also started a 6-month vocational program where those in need of work skills can participate in the food preparation and service. The goal is that these people can come into the food kitchen looking for a meal, and walk out with marketable skills that lead to a job.

This is the kind of novel thinking we love to see at Lust for Cooking. More proof that cooking just might save the world.

You can check out and share a video about them at Now This.