Among our many events in October, Food Shift partnered with ExtraFood.org to recover food from the Bioneers Summit Conference in San Rafael on October 17-19, 2014. Bioneers is a nonprofit educational organization that highlights innovative approaches to human and environmental health and it was an honor to work with them to ensure food from their 25th year celebration dinners was captured and redistributed within the community. ExtraFood.org, a food recovery organization in Marin County, has recovered over 125,000 pounds of food for Marin nonprofits in 2014.
With the help of ExtraFood.org, Carolyn Lasar, a Food Shift team member spent a couple hours each night packing up the uneaten high quality food in trays, weighing, labeling, and storing overnight in a walk-in refrigerator at the Embassy Suites.
The following mornings, a volunteer from ExtraFood.org would come and pick up the food to deliver it to a North Bay service organization. On Saturday morning, the excess goods were delivered to New Beginnings Center, part of the Homeward Bound of Marin family, and on Sunday morning, to the West Marin Senior Services in San Geronimo. The collaboration between Food Shift, ExtraFood.Org, Bioneers, and the hotel staff was a huge success.
“Bioneers staff, Embassy Suites chefs and kitchen staff, Food Shift, Extrafood.org and the recipient organizations were all integral links in this chain of food recovery,” explained Carolyn Lasar of Food Shift. “Careful planning and committed people made this event run smoothly.”
ExtraFood.Org also appreciated the collaborative nature of the food recovery. “Everything we do is centered on collaboration among food donors, recipient agencies, volunteers, and supporting partners,” said Marv Zauderer, ExtraFood.org Executive Director, “and we were delighted to collaborate with Food Shift and Bioneers on this project.”
On October 17, a total of 116 pounds of surplus food was collected. The food included steak, baba ganoush, white bean spread, bread rolls, chips, salsa, pinto beans, and fish, equating to 13 trays and 2 bags full of food. On October 18, 165 pounds of food was recovered including Greek chicken, vegetable masala, and Indian flavored pork, plus an extra 36 loaves of bread. Events like this typically serve some of the most high-quality food, though at the same time, they are often the most difficult to recover food from due to required refrigeration and the event ending late at night after most food assistance organizations have closed. However, it is this kind of top notch food that Food Shift ultimately wants to capture and redistribute to food insecure communities, while also establishing the necessary infrastructure to make this able to happen on a consistent basis.
Bioneers expressed gratitude towards Food Shift for our efforts. Arty Mangan, Director of the Bioneers Restorative Food Systems Program, said he was “very grateful to Food Shift for helping Bioneers walk [their] talk in regards to food sustainability…”
Thank you to ExtraFood.Org, Carolyn, and Bioneers for making this food redistribution such a success! We look forward to working with you and others on more events like this in the future!