Transforming Surplus Food into Opportunities

Despite the abundance of food and wealth in the Bay Area, 1 in 4 people in San Francisco are food insecure, many of them seniors and children. The dichotomy of hunger in modern cities juxtaposed with a world of surplus food and 40% waste requires innovative thinking to move beyond the traditional models of food recovery and charity. Food Shift discovers, demonstrates and shares creative and sustainable community approaches to addressing hunger.  

Food Shift recovers and revitalizes surplus and imperfect food. Working its culinary and human magic in The Food Shift KitchenFood Shift creates delicious meals for our catering and food donation programs, simultaneously imparting culinary skills and job-training to our kitchen apprentices. We strive to maximize nutritious food prepared and distributed to food insecure communities, and to support individuals with limited resources to achieve economic security through job training and employment. 

We create win-win, sustainable solutions through social enterprise.

Food Recovery & Transformation

Although there is increased local and global awareness around the issues of hunger and food waste, 40% of all food is still wasted in the U.S. 80 billion pounds of food and all the resources that went into growing and transporting it are thrown away each year. This tremendous loss of nutrients takes place daily despite 1 in 6 Americans going hungry.

There is valuable food among this so-called waste, perhaps with slight imperfections or an expired sell-by date.  Underlying social issues often prevent us from providing for and connecting it to our neighbors who face financial and nutritional challenges. Food Shift redistributes approximately 80% of the food we recover to our partner food assistance organizations and the remaining 20% fuels our social enterprise kitchen.

Culinary Job Training

Our hallmark apprenticeship program, The Food Shift Kitchen, is a joint food recovery operation, workforce development program, and social enterprise kitchen. Our kitchen provides on-the-job culinary training, real-world job skills and paid apprenticeships for small cohorts of San Francisco Bay Area neighbors facing barriers to employment. 

From the simple act of recovering food, people and produce alike have a second chance to thrive at Food Shift, creating both nutritious meals and healthier humans. Under the mentorship of Food Shift’s Culinary Education Director, kitchen apprentices receive job readiness support, nutrition coaching, and a certificate of completion after the program. Apprentices learn valuable workplace skills to support future employment and long-term economic security. Instruction emphasizes untapping both food and human potential, using rescued produce as a unique teaching tool. Jobs, lives and meals are restored, while instilling values of community, food and social justice.

The Food Shift Kitchen brings it all together: the perfectly edible recovered produce transformed into nutritious, healthy food by its apprentices. More than just culinary instruction, apprentices gain job skills, catering production experience and real wages. The Food Shift Kitchen generates self-sustaining income for the social enterprise’s continued catering and educational training programs, and serves as a financially sustainable, scalable, and effective model for job creation and health throughout the region. 

“The prospect of returning to work is just so exciting for me. I love the feeling that I’m doing something positive and I get to see my kids after work.” 

Henrika, APC Resident

Catering

The Food Shift Kitchen offers environmentally and financially sustainable catering options for office meetings, training, workshops, conferences, holiday parties, special events or regular contracted meals. Easy, reliable, and healthy lunch options are available for teams of all sizes in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Our unique meal menus are seasonal and plant-based, providing nutritious and delicious food options sourced from regionally recovered produce. The meals are lovingly prepared by current or past graduates of The Food Shift Kitchen culinary job-training program, our social enterprise model.

Food Waste Reduction Consulting

Let Food Shift’s consulting practice help your business, organization, or program navigate the food recovery system and requirements of SB1383. We would love to share our expertise built over eight years of experimentation, successes, failures and hands-on experience. We assist government entities, businesses and organizations with food recovery research, planning and implementation. By envisioning the food recovery service sector as an extension of our current waste management processes, we have created a pathway to job creation in the community.

Success Stories