After returning from time volunteering in Mother Teresa’s mission in Thailand, Dana Frasz was shocked to see the amount of food being wasted on her college campus. She founded Empty Bellies, an award-winning system to fight waste and hunger. They collected leftover food from local businesses, campuses and events and donated the food to soup kitchens and communities in need. After graduation, she spent three years at Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. Eventually, she made her way to the Bay area, where she founded FoodShift.
FoodShift is a social enterprise based in Oakland. Their goal is to reduce wasted food while alleviating hunger. FoodShift is attacking the problem on several fronts. They are buying imperfect produce that would otherwise go to waste, from local farmers. That keeps food waste out of landfills, reducing the greenhouse gasses in the process. They are opening the Alameda Kitchen to turn the food into meals, and in the process, creating jobs for some people who have had some bad breaks along the way. And, they are distributing prepared meals into areas where healthy food is hard to come by, places that are often referred to as food deserts. So, in the process, they reduce food waste, reduce greenhouse gasses, feed hungry people and create jobs.
Key quotes from the interview:
“We’re in a situation where 40% of all food produced is wasted, while 49 million Americans don’t have adequate access to food.”
“Hunger alleviation programs in the US cost $168 billion.”
“If food waste was a country, it would be the third highest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet, behind the United States and China.”
“There’s a direct correlation between food waste and climate change.”
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