For years our approach to hunger has remained stagnant. We've stuck with a few tried and true solutions which certainly have their merits, but fail to solve the underlying problem: getting food to those who need it most.
This makes sense from a foreign aid perspective, but holds even further in developing nations. That's because almost 40 percent of the food we produced is currently wasted. Rather than going to people in need, it is thrown out on either the distribution or consumer sides.
Rather than being a problem of producing more food the issue is entirely in the distribution. Approaching hunger in this way presents us with a whole new set of possibilities and perhaps a way to solve our challenges.
Fortunately a few organizations have taken on the challenge of food waste already and have recently found innovative ways to combat these issues.
Founded two years ago, Transfernation is a 501©3 non-profit organization which finds innovative ways to ensure that extra food from events goes towards supporting communities in need.
Originating in New York City, Transfernation began by manually coordinating food rescue from corporate events ranging from Gala's and Festivals to Lucheonsregular . 10,000 pounds of rescued later Transfernation has collaborated with Social Effort, a volunteering platform and data analytics company, to release an app that operates like "Uber for food waste".
This app allows Transfernation to make corporate giving as easy as throwing while crowdsourcing from the world's biggest cities. Now that they have the potential to expand anywhere Transfernation is launching its holiday fundraising drive today for #GivingTuesday on Generosity by Indiegogo.
SpoilerAlert is a company which tackles the same issue through an entirely different part of the supply chain. By creating a marketplace for suppliers, producers, and retailers SpoilerAlert is able to help organizations find buyers for their surplus at discounted price.
If nothing is available than SpoilerAlert can connect them with a non-profit to ensure it does not go to waste. Excess production and supply is a substantial inefficiency in our food supply chain and SpoilerAlert provides and optimal solution for everyone.
This past spring they launched their Beta test and were able to rescue around 8000 pounds of food with a few key users.
3. Hungry Harvest
Hungry Harvest tackles the produce side of food waste by ensuring that fruits and vegetables often discarded for their "ugliness" are put to good use.
They deliver this produce directly from farmers to the customer in boxed subscription sets while simultaneously donating meals to food pantries and soup kitchen. Similar to Imperfect Produce, Hungry Harvest is able to support farmers, rescue food, and turn a profit.
To date they have been able to redistribute 160,000 pounds of produce that would otherwise be thrown away.
4. Misfit Juicery
MISFIT Juicery has found a new way to rescue "ugly" produce by making cold-pressed juice out of surplus and cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables. The company also recently created a partnership with Baldor Specialty Foods, the Northeast's leading distributor of fresh produce, which creates fresh-cut products like carrot sticks and watermelon cubes. MISFIT wholesales to over 40 locations in the D.C. area.
The co-founders started the company at Georgetown University by selling their juice at two coffee shops and a salad shop on campus. They are part of the Halcyon Incubator.
Re-Nuble tackles the food that cannot be redistributed to those in need by converting food waste and scraps into fertilizer. A little different than some of the more traditional food rescue apps Re-Nuble aims to create a closed-loop agriculture system and tackle the inefficiencies in our current agricultural tactics. Re-Nuble is still in its growth stages yet features a line of products available to consumers passionate about natural products and the environment.
Food waste has not always been the sexiest of industries, but over the past 10 years it has exploded in relevance. Recently reducing food waste was labeled a national priority by the Obama Adminstration for the next 15 years. Fortunately, there is something that is being done already, thanks to organizations like these.
What organization are you going to work with during the holidays?