Reduce waste, feed the hungry. FARMcurious and Food Shift.

Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | By Jared Easterday |

You have a plum tree in your front yard and can only eat so many. The extra ripe unpicked fruit is falling to the ground. What do you do?

One answer is to preserve it. As you know, we at FARMcurious are big fans of all the kitchen traditions that let you enjoy foods well past their season. I’m talking about jams, cheeses, pickles, fruit wines, kimchis…the list goes on. We teach the skills and sell the equipment to preserve what you have now for later. The added bonus is that those baskets of plums or gallons of milk don't end up in the trash.

An astounding 40% of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, and at the same time 1 in 6 Americans aren’t sure when or if they will get their next meal.

Oakland-based Food Shift is working to change those numbers, and FARMcurious will be donating the proceeds from our Holiday Party December 6th to support their work.

How are they doing it? We’re glad you asked! Food Shift works collaboratively with communities, businesses and governments to develop long-term sustainable solutions to reduce food waste and hunger. In 2014 they diverted 14,000 pounds of food from the garbage by partnering with the Oakland Unified School District. Not only that, they redistributed that food to 69 families who participated in the program and are developing a guide so other schools can follow their lead!

In addition to raising awareness through events, workshops and ads (maybe you have seen them riding on BART?), Food Shift is working out the final details in a partnership with grocery chain Andronico's, making it easy for any surplus, imperfect or otherwise wasted food to be redistributed to hungry people. Each of these collaborations forges the way to creating a new food system, more jobs and less waste. We’re all for that!

Food Shift is also working on calculating the hidden costs of food waste. For instance, did you know that 25% of fresh water in the U.S. goes into food production? Conversely, when you throw away a pound of chicken, you are wasting 450 gallons of water that went into raising, preparing and transporting the bird. Food for thought in this time of drought for us California.

Food Shift believes thousands of people can be employed in the recovery, redistribution and processing of excess food. By reducing food waste, we can feed the hungry, create jobs, combat climate change and cultivate more sustainable communities.

Consider supporting their work by coming to our Holiday Party (where you can learn more about Food Shift, meet some of their team and perhaps sample some reclaimed food!) or donating directly.