Dear ReFED Supporters,
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, a feast…and then fun meals using the leftovers! The holiday season is a perfect time to better our relationships with those around us, and with the planet we share. As leaders in business, government, and civil society, it is up to us to set an example for reducing wasted food, and chart the course for others to follow. The ReFED team has been hard at work over the last couple months creating new content on the steady increase in entrepreneurs tackling the food waste problem and top trends we're seeing, and releasing recommendations for how foundations can maximize the impact of philanthropic investment in food waste solutions. In the coming months, look out for new ReFED products, including a web-based tool on policies to facilitate food waste reduction.
As you reflect on this past year, I urge you to pause for a moment to think about how you plan to take action against food waste – one of the most solvable modern-day problems. The table has been set, and there are seats for us all. Enjoy the holidays, and have a very happy New Year!
On behalf of the ReFED team
ReFED in Action
The Billion Dollar Food Waste Market Investors Are Missing
ReFED partnered with AgFunder to highlight commercial and nonprofit food waste innovators. Read the article for our take on why private and early stage investment in food waste solutions has been slow, despite a surge of innovative entrepreneurs taking on the global problem. Please share this piece with your networks or get in touch with any feedback. Click here to tweet!
Foundation Action Guide
To make the ReFED Roadmap more useful to specific actors across the food system, we published a Foundation Action Guide. This is the first in a series of stakeholder-specific action guides, and demonstrates how food waste initiatives enable foundations to achieve mission objectives. If your foundation is funding or planning to fund food waste solutions, please download the guide and contact us at [email protected] for information on future opportunities to connect with other funders to share best practices and resources.
Creating Opportunity Through Food Waste Reduction Workshop
On November 17 in Chicago, IL, ReFED co-hosted its first-ever workshop for philanthropic funders, exploring the role foundations can play as catalysts in accelerating the impact of solutions to wasted food. The Chicago region is taking a leadership role in action against food waste – with great work being done by the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and many others. Over the next few years, new models for food recovery will be piloted, as well as continued work on building more connections between messaging for prevention, recovery, and recycling initiatives. ReFED will continue to host similar events throughout the country, and will develop additional workshops in conjunction with future stakeholder-specific action guides. Contact us at [email protected] if you’re interested in hosting a workshop in your area.
ReFED Is Hiring!
In November, ReFED began its search for an executive director. The full job description is available here.
Updates From the ReFED Network
Sodexo Promotes the “Save the Food” Campaign
Sodexo announced promotional plans in support of Save the Food, a national public service campaign developed by the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Through the remainder of 2016, Sodexo will be the only food service provider highlighting the importance of reducing food waste using Save the Food public service announcements in both the serving and eating areas of its establishments. We plan to build on the Save the Food campaign and transition our focus to educating our employees and customers about the concept of the “social license”, a topic that gained attention through the ReFED Roadmap.
Feeding America Hosts National Food Rescue Summit, Views Food Waste as Key Part of Next Farm Bill
In September, Feeding America hosted its second Annual Food Rescue Summit, featuring over 110 attendees from across the food rescue community. Attendees engaged in informative general sessions with industry leaders and interactive breakouts focused on enabling collaborative action plans to get more excess food to food insecure families. In his keynote address, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack emphasized food waste as an important issue that will span administrations, as well as the commitment of USDA career staff to continue to partner with Feeding America to improve food donation policies. Read more about the event here.
Reflecting on the impact and key learnings from the Summit, Feeding America sees the next farm bill as a key opportunity to enact policies that strengthen partnerships between food banks and the food industry to connect the 42 million food insecure Americans with access to nutritious food. Learn more about our collaborative programs here, including tax incentive resources to help companies defray costs of establishing food donation programs.
Have an update or call to action? We want to know about it. Contact Nate Clark.
ReFED Innovator Spotlight
412 Food Rescue
by Leah Lizarondo, CEO and Co-Founder
412 Food Rescue’s mission is to prevent perfectly viable food from entering the waste stream. We were founded in Pittsburgh in March 2015 with a bias for innovation and operate with a social lab philosophy — our solutions are social, experimental and our goal for the data that we gather is that it helps lead us to a systemic solution to food waste. Over the last 20 months, we recovered 1,000,000 pounds of food in the Pittsburgh region — donated by a fast-growing network of over 175 food retailers, to 200 nonprofit partners, utilizing more than 1,000 volunteers. What amazes me is that, at the moment, we are averaging 6,000 food rescues a year by volunteers, whose only compensation is the knowledge that they have contributed to environmental sustainability and the fight against hunger.
In 2016, our second year in operation, we launched several new programs that we hope to expand in 2017: A partnership with Zipcar and our local bike share program to offer free rides to our food rescue heroes (volunteers) who want to help but don’t have a vehicle; the first phase launch of FoodRescueX – our end-to-end technology platform that matches food donations to eligible recipients, coordinates and trains volunteers, and tracks data and analytics to monitor environmental impact; we created a local CSA for ugly produce and started a gleaning network to harvest fruits from city trees; and we launched LOAF – our partnership with a local brewery to create a craft beer made from wasted bread.
We look forward to contributing to the growing food recovery movement and hope that organizations continue to share learnings, advocacy, and innovations that will help us collectively achieve the aggressive goals we have set for 2030.