Browsing Tag

be a zero

Behind the Plate


June 27, 2016


Eva Fowler, Associate Director of Programs & Communications at ReFED, is working hard at making #NoFoodWaste a reality on a national level. ReFED has set the Roadmap for decreasing food waste, and it’s time for all of us to jump on board.

What is ReFED, and how did it come to be?
ReFED is a non-profit collaboration of over 30 different businesses, non-profits, foundations, investors, innovators and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste at scale. It was started by Betsy and Jesse Fink about two years ago, who began to notice how much beautiful, nutritious food was going to waste on their farm. They quickly realized that there was a large gap between the awareness of food waste and action on the issue, so they rallied a dozen other like-minded foundations and decided to invest in developing a strategic roadmap for action.

Tell us about the Roadmap.
ReFED set out to identify the most cost-effective and high impact interventions to reduce waste, understand which stakeholders needed to be around the table, and quantify the financing needed to make it happen. In March of 2016, ReFED launched the first-ever national economic baseline study of U.S. food waste with a clear path for multistakeholder action to reduce waste by 20% over the next decade.

Do you think that food waste is the largest issue currently surrounding our food system?
Yes! We waste 40% of all food we grow here in the U.S. (and globally). It costs us $218 billion—1.3% of our GDP—to grow, process, transport and dispose of this food that is never eaten. Food waste is an absurd and unnecessary reality of our food system highlighting major inefficiency.

While food waste is a costly, highly complex and integrated problem, it has the ability to solve three major issues we face at both at the national and global scale. Food waste reduction helps alleviate hunger by getting food to those in need, it offers economic opportunity by creating new jobs and stimulating new innovative businesses, and helps protect our environment by reducing green house gas emissions and reducing water, land and fertilizer use.

Food issues have barely made it into the race for President. If the future President were to consider food waste solutions, how should they be addressed?
In September, the EPA and USDA announced the first-ever goal to reduce U.S. food waste by 50% over the next 15 years—in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals with the same target. The new administration should continue to support these two agencies efforts and the businesses, non-profits and others who have also signed onto this important goal. Food waste is unique because it is a bipartisan issue that everyone can get behind. Everyone wants to alleviate hunger, create jobs, and protect our environment, so I am optimistic that the spotlight on this issue will only increase in importance.

What’s one of your first (and most memorable) interactions with food?
My first and most memorable interaction with food was with my great-aunt Josie. She  was a holocaust survivor from Austria so she had the ultimate “food is love” mentality given the hardship and uncertainty she experienced for many decades of her life. She also had purple hair and didn’t know it (I think she meant to dye it black). My mom would actually stomp her feet like an angry bull if we kids ever giggled at the sight of it, especially when it glimmered in the sunshine like a cloud of cotton candy. Anyway, she would make her “Josie cookies”—star shaped butter cookies with chocolate chips and jam, pack them gently in wax paper and Tupperware and present them proudly to us when she came to visit. I learned recently that these cookies are actually linzer tarts, but in my mind, these are uniquely “Josie cookies”.

The Roadmap outlines an $18 billion investment that will result in over $100 billion in value over a decade. What do you think it will take for people to bite the bullet and institute change?
The Roadmap outlines a suite of 27 cost-effective, scalable solutions to divert nearly 13 million tons of food from landfills and farms. To implement them would take an $18 billion investment, just 1/10th of a penny for every pound diverted, that would result in $100 billion in benefits to business, consumers and tax payers, over the next decade. Beyond this $100 billion, implementing the Roadmap is estimated to generate 15,000 new jobs; annually it would increase consumer spending power by $6 billion, business profits by up to $2 billion, double recovered food donations to nonprofits (1.8 billion meals), reduce up to 1.5% of freshwater use (1.6 trillion gallons), and avoid nearly 18 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

We have identified four cross-cutting actions needed to truly institute change:
1) financing from corporate, government and philanthropic sources
2) commonsense policy that makes food donation easier, standardizes food safety regulations and stimulates investment recycling infrastructure
3) business model and technology innovation
4) consumer education to activate a shift in consumer behavior around waste reduction

Date labeling standardization is one of the most cost-effective prevention solutions in the Roadmap. Please tell us a little about date labelling, what currently exists, and what needs to change.
In the absence of federal regulation, it has been up to the states to develop food label laws, and this has resulted in the variety of labeling jargon that leads us to question whether our milk is still good, or if the chicken has taken a turn for the worse. But in general, these dates do not indicate food safety, and instead show the manufacturer’s expectation for how long the food will taste its best. To make things worse, 20 different states prohibit the donation of food past its date label, despite the lack of scientific evidence that this food has become unsafe for consumption. For all of these reasons, food waste advocates are pushing for the national standardization of date labels, calling for labels that explicitly identify whether a date label indicates food quality or if it indicates food safety.

What other food waste prevention tactics should be implemented?
In the Roadmap, prevention solutions were identified as some of the most cost-effective, and surprisingly had the largest net environmental impact—even more than recycling solutions. This is mainly because of the agricultural resources that never went to waste. Many of these tactics include business solutions like trayless dining in cafeterias, spoilage prevention packaging, waste tracking, and imperfect and ugly produce. Another major prevention solution that can be implemented nationally is consumer education campaigns. The AdCouncil, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council just launched a three-year national awareness campaign focused on reducing consumer food waste. Check out their amazing, cry-worthy video and get involved through


Donation is a key food waste recovery tactic. Why is it so hard to donate food?
There are four major barriers to donating food—liability concerns; fragmented regulation; handling, transportation and storage; and financial viability. But while food donation can be challenging, there is some good news. In December 2015 the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act was introduced, making permanent the charitable giving tax incentives for food donation. These benefits that had previously only been accessible to large C corporations, have been expanded to smaller food businesses and farms. Additionally, these deductions were enhanced, meaning businesses can now claim both a portion of the cost of the food and the potential profits. There is now a major opportunity for the federal government to educate businesses and farms so they can benefit from these new tax incentives.

While the majority of food waste occurs before food arrives into our homes, food waste at home is the largest piece of the pie—making up 43% of waste. Beyond using all parts of foods and composting at home, what other food waste recycling methods do you see in our future?
The food waste recycling methods available to you will depend on what organics recycling infrastructure exists in your region. For larger metropolitan areas, we expect to see an increase in centralized composting and anaerobic digestion facilities—especially in the Northeast, Northwest and Midwest regions of the United States, where high landfill disposal fees and high compost and energy market prices will make these facilities more financially attractive. For those who aren’t familiar, anaerobic digestion is allowing microorganisms to break down organic waste without the presence of oxygen, which results in the generation of biogas and digested solids (digestate).

Throughout both urban and suburban centers, a really exciting trend is the increase in decentralized, community-based composting sites. These smaller facilities can be found in community gardens or neighborhood centers, on degraded sites, or even under the Queensboro Bridge right here in New York City! Community composters play a major role by educating and engaging the public around composting, and by providing recycling infrastructure in areas where centralized options either don’t exist, or aren’t available to the public. On Sundays, I take my compost down to my local farmers market. For you New Yorkers, find ways to recycle your food scraps through Grow NYC.

Foodstand is in the midst of our second #NoFoodWaste campaign. What are some #NoFoodWaste practices that you incorporate into your daily life?
I compost in our home using the Bokashi system which basically “pickles” your food scraps—a major plus because it curbs the smell in your kitchen. I also make compound butters and pestos out of the wilting, miscellaneous herbs in my crisper. I sneak spinach into just about every hot dish I make (spinach and greens are normally the first things to die in my fridge). And finally, when I’m out, I always order the “kiddie” sized version of my favorite smoothie and protein shake. My pet peeve is ginormous cups and portion offerings that I know I’ll never eat or drink. Protects the wallet, the waistline and the environment!

How do you define good food?
Good food is food that is made with love, intention and only a few ingredients!

If you could get the general population to change one aspect of their eating habits, what would it be?
One habit I would change is that we should all pipe up at our grocery stores, restaurants, and delis, and refuse the senseless, extra packaging our food is always placed in. I used to get an egg sandwich from my corner deli—they would wrap it in wax paper, then foil, then put it in a plastic container, put the container in a paper bag, then put that in a plastic bag and then hand it to me with a fork and knife. This is so common and so unnecessary. Unless you are stepping out into a torrential rainstorm, tell them to wrap it once, and then toss it in your backpack.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t working on the nation’s leading food waste initiative, I would be a chef!

What’s always in your fridge? What do you use it for?
I always have eggs, lemons, scallions, and fish in the fridge. Eggs because they are a cheap, easy protein for any meal; lemons because I always need to make a fresh vinaigrette; scallions because they last longer than other aromatic herbs; and fish because I belong to a local community supported fishery called Mermaid’s Garden.

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with? And where?
I have many on my list, but I’d do anything to have a dinner party with Ina Garten in her gorgeous Hamptons home. We’d giggle and gossip while we chopped, we’d shoosh good ol’ Jeffrey away from the pots and platters, and then we’d sit down to our gorgeous meal and say in unison “How easy was THAT?!” and then burst into laughter. And then I would faint from too much happiness.

Your good food wish?
My good food wish is that we as Americans start to take better care of our precious food system by staying curious, experimental and bold in our decisions about food.

Behind the Plate


June 20, 2016


Emily Broad Leib is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and the Director of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC). #NoFoodWaste is a significant piece of her life’s work.

How do you define good food?
To me, good food is less about an individual food project and more about the ethos by which we produce, distribute, sell, and recycle all of our food. Food should be produced in ways that internalize rather than externalize costs so that it is more sustainably raised; it should be produced in ways that do not disproportionately burden certain sectors of society; it should be as healthy and safe as possible; and it should be affordable and accessible to all sectors of society.

You wear many hats—tell us a little about what it is that you do.
I direct the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School, which means that I teach law students about the major issues in food law and policy both in the classroom and via hands-on projects for clients and communities. Our work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, assisting small and sustainable food producers in breaking into new commercial markets, and reducing the waste of healthy, wholesome food.

In addition to food waste, right now we’re working on supporting the legal and policy needs of food policy councils in cities and states around the country; striving to improve access to and quality of food in schools; identifying opportunities to provide healthy food to those diagnosed with a diet-related disease through our food is medicine work (partnering with our colleagues at the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation); and supporting sustainable food production.

In all of these areas, we are bringing legal and policy expertise to help figure out ways to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable.

How did you start working on climate change and food waste reduction?
In law school, my main focus was human rights. After law school, I took a fellowship in the Mississippi Delta doing community organizing and community development around health and economic opportunity. While there, I learned how issues like food access and food production impact grassroots communities, and how law and policy have a major role to play in these issues. I realized that food is closely linked to two of the major social issues facing this country—health and climate change—and that there is much work to do.

After working in various food policy issues for several years, my work in food waste reduction began from a project we conducted on behalf of Doug Rauch and the Daily Table. Through our work for Doug, we began looking at the laws in Massachusetts around date labels on food. When we zoomed out from Massachusetts to see what surrounding states were doing, we identified a dizzying array of state laws on date labels, many of which restrict sale or donation of past-date foods for no good reason. We found that there are many areas where law and policy play a role in driving increased food waste, or in preventing the recovery of safe and edible food.

Last year you were awarded funding under Harvard President Drew Faust’s Climate Change Solutions Fund.
Yes, my project “Reducing Food Waste as a Key to Addressing Climate Change,” confronts the challenge of climate change using the levers of law, policy, and economics, as well as public health and science. This support has helped us to build and expand our work in this area, which has only grown as we have come to learn about the major challenges posed by food waste, and the ways that law and policy can have an impact on this societal issue.

Tell us about your work with date labeling.
Our work on date labels began with the research we conducted for the Daily Table, helping them to better understand federal and state laws about whether and how past-date food can be sold or donated. After seeing how widely state date label laws vary, we were convinced that these state laws were not based in science or sound public policy. We teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council to conduct a more detailed national study on this issue, and in September 2013, we co-published The Dating Game, which analyzed the laws regarding expiration dates and explained how these unclear and unregulated labels contribute to an alarming amount of unnecessary food waste.

In the past few years, we’ve worked to raise awareness about this issue and to conduct additional research to help policy change to make date labels more uniform, clear, and coherent. For example, earlier this year, we release a short film entitled EXPIRED: Food Waste in America and have worked to help raise awareness at events and conferences nationally.

Last month, we released the findings of a national survey, conducted earlier this year with Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future and National Consumers League, which found that many consumers throw away past-date food because of safety fears. We found one-third of consumers always throw food away after the date, and 84% do so at least occasionally. One-third of consumers also believe these dates are regulated by the federal government, which is inaccurate (currently, only date labels on infant formula are federally regulated). An average household of four waste $1,560 – $2,275 annually, and much of this is because of confusion over date labels. That’s money and food that doesn’t need to go down the drain!

What’s the latest date labeling news?
The introduction of the Food Date Labeling Act by Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in mid-May is a fantastic development, because this legislation helps to create coherent, standardized date label language by simplifying date labels to two well-defined options: a quality date, indicated by “best if used by” and, for the very few foods where it’s applicable, a safety date indicated by “expires on.” If the bill does pass, it will be a big deal, because people may be more likely to take these labels seriously if they are clearer about what they mean, and are mandated by the federal government. Of course, we will need some serious consumer education to make this work, but the legislation also requires the FDA and USDA to help educate consumers so they can make better decisions about their food moving forward.

Do you think that food waste is the largest issue currently surrounding our food system?
I do think food waste is one of the biggest issues. It presents a grave threat to our economy, our health, and our environment. The good news is that addressing food waste has the potential to positively impact all of these areas. The NRDC estimates that redistributing just 30 percent of all the food lost in the United States could feed every food-insecure American their total diet. And reducing food waste can play a major role in reducing negative impacts on our environment and our climate. All the issues in our food system are amplified when we waste so much food. For example, food production requires the use of many natural resources, like water and land, and all of these are overused when we throw away 40% of the food we produce. Issues like antibiotic resistance, pesticide use, and fertilizer runoff are also amplified by the amount of food that we throw away.

Food issues have barely made it into the race for President. If the future President were to consider food waste solutions, how should they be addressed?
Obviously I think that addressing food waste is very important. But I think this should be something that is considered as part of a comprehensive review of our food system. We are working on another project that is examining this concept—“Blueprint for a National Food Strategy,” that we are conducting in partnership with the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School. Many of the agencies and authorities regulating our food system are not aligned, and often tradeoffs are made without a critical look at the best outcomes for sustainability, health, equity, and the economy. Our project takes an in-depth look at the benefits and critiques of a national food strategy, the legal mechanisms that could be employed to develop such a strategy, and the means by which stakeholder engagement could ensure that such a strategy is effective and inclusive. Our research is looking at other countries that have developed national food strategies, and also examining national strategies that the U.S. government has created for other issue areas, such as HIV/AIDS, Environmental Justice, and Health Quality.

There are a lot of opportunities to improve the U.S. food system, and using a coordinated strategy could help us identify the overarching goals for our food system and the strategies to achieve those goals, while streamlining the work of all agencies that are creating food policies often in tension with one another.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
In addition to loving the work that we do for communities around the country by helping them to understand and better utilize the legal system to affect change in their food policies, I like helping people to understand the role that law and lawyers play in the food movement, and getting people to see us as a resource.

What are you working on right now?
Right now, FLPC is working to create a cohort of food lawyers and food advocates across the country. One aspect of this work has involved creating a network of faculty and law schools interested in food law, which launched this year called the Academy of Food Law and Policy. Last year we held the first Food Law Student Leadership Summit at Harvard Law School, and brought together 100 law students coming from 50 law schools in 30 states. We will be holding the second Summit this fall, at Drake Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. We’ve also identified student leaders and helped them launch the Food Law Student Network earlier this month. Being able to engage with students at Harvard Law School and across the country is incredibly rewarding and helps us to educate and empower the next generation of leaders in food law and policy.


What’s one of your first (and most memorable) interactions with food?
I grew up in a food-loving household and have always lived to eat (rather than eating to live). In my mother’s family, a lot of our family traditions are passed down through the food that my mother (and her mother, and her mother’s mother) cook. It’s hard to think of just one food memory, when food is tied to most of my childhood memories.

If you could get the general population to change one aspect of their eating habits, what would it be?
I would really encourage people to stop relying on expiration, sell-by, and best-by dates. Trust your eyes and nose to tell you when something has gone wrong, rather than the arbitrary date on the package. At least until the Date Labeling Act has been passed! And beyond that, make responsible decisions about what you do with food past its peak—there are lots of ways to better store, cook, and prepare food so that you don’t have to throw it away. We are all contributing to the problem of food waste—45% of the food wasted in the U.S. happens in consumers’ homes.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I think I would own a bookstore. When I was little I always thought I would be a writer and operate a bookstore. Sadly these days bookstores are not that successful because of e-books, so I don’t think it is a good retirement plan, but it is nice to imagine being surrounded by books all day and having the time to read them all!

We are in the middle of our second #NoFoodWaste campaign. What are some #NoFoodWaste practices that you incorporate into your daily life?
I try to order smaller portions so I can make sure to finish my meals, and always take food to go if there are leftovers.

What’s always in your fridge? How do you use it?
Parmesan cheese—I put it on lots of things, like in my eggs in the morning, and on top of avocado toast.

Tell us about the Reduce and Recover event coming up at Harvard.
On June 28th and 29th, food recovery entrepreneurs, farmers, academics, students, enthusiasts and many more will converge at Harvard Law School for learning, strategizing, and networking to address the growing issue of food waste. I’m really excited for FLPC to be partnering with EPA, Mass DEP, and RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts to host the conference.

Reduce and Recover will focus on the top two tiers of EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy: “source reduction” and “feed hungry people” to highlight innovative solutions from across the nation to reduce food waste and recover more edible food for people. In September 2015, the USDA and EPA set the first-ever national food waste reduction goal aiming to reduce food waste 50% by 2030. We look forward to using this conference as a way to elevate the discussion and help the EPA and our national partners identify the key steps in terms of policy, innovation, and public awareness that need to be taken to achieve this important goal.

The conference is just about sold out at this point, but if you can’t make it, you can follow along on Twitter using #SaveFood4People or by viewing FLPC’s Twitter feed during the conference. Plus, we’ll release video of all conference sessions soon after the 29th on our website.

What was your biggest #foodfail?
My mother always used to make delicious whole artichokes topped with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs that you peel and dip into melted butter. I’ve tried to make them a few times but they have always turned out to be completely inedible. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong! Even though I’m intimately involved in the food system, my husband is actually the main cook in our household. He is calm and collected in the kitchen, loves experimenting with new dishes, and finds that cooking helps him to relax at the end of a long day. So luckily I don’t have to have many food fails because he is such a pro!

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with? And where?
This is by far the hardest question. There are so many people who have inspired me to do the work that I do. I guess I’ll go with my early inspiration—in my young days, I was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, who was curious and creative, and when he saw problems or things that confused him, he set about trying to fix them or invent new tools. I would say on a farm in Italy.

What’s your go-to breakfast?
We love making personal egg frittatas. Cook them in muffin tins over the weekend and then pop them in the oven or microwave in the morning during the week. We include eggs, cheese, cream, and veggies like tomato, mushrooms, or spinach.

What’s your favorite indulgent treat?
I’m a sucker for any dark chocolate!

Your good food wish?
That we find a way to meet the elements of my good food definition.

Behind the Plate


June 13, 2016


Keith Carr, City Harvest‘s Healthy Neighborhoods Manager, takes #NoFoodWaste to a whole new level. Not only does he rescue food that would otherwise go to waste, but he gets it to those who need it most.

Please tell us about City Harvest.
Founded in 1982 here in NYC, we were the world’s first (and NYC’s only) food rescue organization. City Harvest is dedicated to helping feed the nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers facing hunger. This year City Harvest will collect 55 million pounds of excess food that would otherwise go to waste from restaurants, grocers, bakeries, manufacturers, greenmarkets and farms, and deliver it free of charge to 500 community food programs across the city.

Donating food can often be difficult due to policy and legal restrictions. How are you able to rescue so much food?
We follow local and national food safety guidelines to ensure donated food is delivered in a safe condition and our donors are protected from liability under Federal and NY State Good Samaritan Laws. We train all recipient agencies in safe food preparation and handling, and agency kitchens are evaluated for their food safety practices. We have a fleet of 22 refrigerated trucks on the road visiting about 2,000 food donors.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Hearing someone at our Mobile Market say that they’ve lost weight, or their diabetes has improved because they use the recipes we provide. Visiting a bodega or supermarket and hearing a customer express how happy they are with the store since we did one of our “produce makeovers”—that the store has more variety and better quality fruits and vegetables. Taking seniors on a farmers’ market tour and seeing the looks on their faces when they try an heirloom tomato for the first time, and then giving them some Health Bucks to buy some to take home.

We are in the midst of our second #NoFoodWaste campaign. #NoFoodWaste is at the core of your business, but what low waste practices do you use at home?
Well, thanks to the NYC Compost Project I have a compost drop off site on my block. I’ve also started doing things my mom and grandmother taught us—blanching veggies and freezing them, and freezing meat.  I also try to “re-purpose” leftovers and get creative by using them in something else—soups are a great “melting pot.”

How do you define good food?
Good food is fresh. Good food is local. Good food is not processed. Good food should be affordable to everyone!

The work that you do has a tremendous positive impact on our people and our environment. Who/what is your inspiration?
Our dad was a community leader, heavily involved in community and economic development in Hartford, CT, where I’m from. He was also involved in local politics, and in his younger days helped organize migrant farm workers. Our mom was also civically engaged and was always involved in service projects through organizations that she belonged to. So, I guess I can credit the community service gene, honestly.

What’s one of your first (and most memorable) interactions with food?
My grandparents had a farm in Northeastern Connecticut, where I’d spend my summers as a child. We grew everything from collards and swiss chard to heirloom tomatoes, Kentucky Wonder string beans and Silver Queen corn. We hunted and fished as well. My grandmother was pretty much a gourmet cook, so you can imagine meals were special, especially Thanksgiving. I remember one year the table had venison, rabbit, collards, sweet potatoes, turnips and of course, turkey. There was sweet potato and blueberry pie on deck. I had a “moment” as I looked around at the table and realized that everything on the table came from our land and it tasted soooo good.

Food issues have barely made it into the race for President. If the future President were to consider food waste solutions, how should they be addressed?
I could go on and on about the Farm Bill but… Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, has launched a business called Daily Table. It’s basically a grocery store stocked with rescued food, and customers pay what they can. It removes the stigma of the pantry line and adds dignity to the experience while creating jobs for folks in the community and reducing food waste. So, I’d say to the would-be President, “Fund things like this.”

If you could get the general population to change one aspect of their eating habits, what would it be?


What’s always in your fridge?
I love salads so there’s always some baby spinach or spring mix and Annie’s dressing.

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with? And where?
One of my favorite songs is “Dem Belly Full.” It completely defines City Harvest’s work, so I’d say Bob Marley. I imagine we’re in Jamaica, sitting on his porch. Sun is shining, weather is sweet… And we discuss world politics and revolution over ackees and saltfish, or maybe a roasted red snapper with some rice and peas and callaloo. And, some Appleton Estate to wash it down, of course.

What has been the hardest moment of your job?
Seeing supermarkets that we have worked with close and be torn down to make way for real estate development projects.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I love music. I sing, and used to play the bass. I’ve also produced concerts and events. So, I could see myself in the music industry in some aspect—not onstage, but behind the scenes. However I do have a recurring dream that I’m on stage with the Rolling Stones…

What’s your favorite meal?
I love one pot meals, so I’d say Rainbow chard with Italian turkey sausage, garlic, onions and peppers.

What is the Healthy Neighborhoods program?
Our Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative is designed to improve healthy food access and knowledge in five neighborhoods within New York City that have a high rate of diet related disease, high poverty, high population density and low access to healthy food options. We work directly with residents, supermarkets and bodegas, and community stakeholders to relieve food insecurity; build nutritional knowledge at the individual, family, and community level; and increase the access to affordable, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Talk about partnering community gardens and pantries.
Community gardens are an overlooked and underutilized source for free or really low-cost, fresh, local produce. And many of them grow more food than their members can use themselves or give away. So much of what they grow just goes to waste. Some of our partner pantries like the Brooklyn Rescue Mission, NEBHDCo and the Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger are growing their own food to supplement what they get from us and other sources. Imagine if community gardens would “adopt” a local pantry and donate to them, or dedicate a couple of growing beds for a pantry. They could feed a lot of folks!

What can we do to help City Harvest?
If you’re a restaurant or other food biz, give our Food Sourcing folks a call. If we can’t pick up your food, we’ll try to connect you to a nearby pantry. As an individual, become a volunteer. We literally could not do what we do without volunteers—from food rescues at a Greenmarket to doing a repack at our Food Rescue Facility, or helping to bag and distribute produce at one of our nine Mobile Market locations. Or helping to facilitate a nutrition ed course or cooking demo, we need you.  And, I know it sounds cliché, but every penny counts so, donate.

Your good food wish?
I wish everyone had access to good, fresh, affordable food.

Behind the Plate


June 6, 2016


Dana Gunders is a Senior Scientist at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) whose work to rescue food waste has been featured by CNN, NBC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, NPR, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and many more. She is also the author of the Waste Free Kitchen Handbook, the ultimate food waste-reduction tool for the home cook.

Please tell us about your job at the NRDC.
These days, my focus is on reducing the amount of food that goes to waste across the country. I look at it from the highest level and then try to push on levers that could make a difference. So, in the last year, I’ve written a consumer guide with tips on wasting less, launched “Save the Food,” a national public service campaign to raise awareness around food waste, helped craft a bill to standardize food date labels, and testified in Congress as to the importance of policy solutions. I have a great team that’s working on other solutions as well.

Food issues have barely made it into the race for President. If the future President were to consider food waste solutions, how should they be addressed?
Fortunately, the current President has at least set national targets to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. Those are hopefully starting to set our federal agencies on a path to explore what they can do. They are also sparking a larger discussion about what entities outside government can do. A few of the things I’d like to see the Executive Branch pursue are better measurement and data collection, targeted grant set asides for farmers and others who are innovating to reduce food waste, and standardization of food date labels.

How do you define good food?
The kind you feel good about eating both before and after putting it in your mouth.

How did you start working on food waste reduction?
I actually stumbled upon the issue as part of work in the sustainable agriculture space. I kept reading these staggering statistics and thinking to myself, “these can’t be true because if they were, everyone would be talking about it.” From that, I wrote a report that got a lot of press coverage for the topic, and I’ve been all food waste all the time ever since.

Do you think that food waste is the largest issue currently surrounding our food system?
Ooh, hard question. I think there are a lot of big issues related to our food system, and food waste is one of them. Ultimately, if we don’t start wasting less, we’ll need to use even more resources to feed future populations. However, water availability, food insecurity, toxicity of pesticides, use of antibiotics in livestock feed… these all are serious issues as well.


What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The call for reducing food waste has resonated tremendously, and people seem to really care. I’ve loved watching this issue spark so much passion in people.

What’s one of your first food memories?
Grandma’s chicken noodle soup.

If you could get the general population to change one aspect of their eating habits, what would it be?
Cook more.

We are currently promoting our second #NoFoodWaste campaign. What are some #NoFoodWaste practices that you incorporate into your daily life?
I definitely recommend marrying someone who’s willing to eat almost anything. Besides that, I try to keep my fridge relatively empty and shop more frequently. It allows more flexibility and also means fresher food.

What’s always in your fridge? What do you use it for?
Maple syrup. I put it on/in everything.

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with?
Jane Goodall, my forever hero!

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Probably building small, energy-efficient homes with my husband.

What’s your go-to breakfast?
Multigrain hot cereal with cottage cheese (sounds strange, I know).

Your good food wish?
That we all eat alone a little less.

Features Recipes


May 30, 2016


Did you know that we waste up to 40% of our food? Almost half! To put it in perspective, that’s about 400 pounds per American every year—wasted. Yet one in seven people in the US is food insecure.

We launched our first #NoFoodWaste campaign last November, and gave you our Top 5 Ways to Cut Food Waste. Reducing waste at home is key—we are the largest slice of the food waste pie (making up over 40%) but over 60% of waste happens before food even gets to our homes. Each week this month, we’ll fill you in on the larger picture of food waste along the supply chain.

How can you Be A Zero? We ask you to have zero food waste! For the month of June, share your #NoFoodWaste tips and photos on the Foodstand app in preparation for June 30th, our Official Day of Zero Waste. Each #NoFoodWaste post you make and every friend you refer to Foodstand enters you to win $25 from Brooklyn Kitchen.

Speaking of which, congratulations to last week’s final #FoodRevolution prizewinners— @MrsXtina for inviting a friend to Foodstand, and the winner of Jamie Oliver’s new book, @JenniferEmilson, for her watermelon buckwheat granola post!


KIMCHI FRITTATA by gingerandchorizo



300g (10-11 ounces) new potatoes, thinly sliced
8 free-range organic eggs (assume 2 per person, so you know if you want to make a bigger potion)
a handful of broccoli, roughly chopped
half a courgette (zucchini), halved lengthwise then cut into half moon disks
a small red bell pepper, diced
1 cup of packed Kimchi, homemade or shop-bought
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil


Preheat the broiler to the highest temperature.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Warm a splash of vegetable oil in an oven-proof frying pan or skillet, then add the sliced potato and pan-fry for about 5 minutes or until the potato turns golden brown and translucent. Turn a few times to make sure they are evenly cooked. Season to taste.

Add the vegetables to the potato and fry for a minute, then add another pinch of salt and pepper to the pan. Put the lid on and cook the vegetables for about 4 minutes on medium low heat. Stir once or twice, then add the kimchi and combine well.

Turn the heat up to medium and pour in the beaten eggs (make sure the vegetables are covered evenly with the egg). Cook on the stove until the edge of the egg has started to turn solid, and there are air bubbles popping up everywhere in between the vegetables.

Transfer the pan to the oven under the broiler for about 6-9 minutes or until the eggs are set and the surface takes on a nice brown colour.

Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool down a little bit. You can either turn the frittata on a serving plate or serve it straight from the pan. Serve with more kimchi if desired.

Serves 4

RED CURRY SOUP by annefood



1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, minced (prep the garlic 10 minutes before cooking to maximize nutritional value)
3” knob ginger, peeled and minced
2 red jalapeños, minced
1 can coconut milk
1 can lite coconut milk
4 ounces red curry paste
1 quart vegetable broth
3 carrots, sliced into thick half-moons
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
about 15 medium baby bella mushrooms, quartered
3/4 – 1 lb small shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 ounces rice noodles
3 heads baby bok choy, sliced
1 bunch scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces (greens too)
juice of 1/2 lime
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil and/or coconut oil


Add a few tablespoons of olive and/or coconut oil to a pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and sauté, stirring often, until onion starts to show some color but is still fairly firm (a few minutes).

Push the onion to the edges of the pan and turn heat to medium-low. Add another splash of oil in the center of the pan if needed, and add the garlic, ginger and jalapeño. Cook for a minute or two, until fragrant and lightly golden, then stir with the onions.

Add the coconut milks and red curry paste. Stir to combine. Add the vegetable broth, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes. Add the broccoli and mushrooms, and cook for another minute or two.

Add the shrimp to the pot, and push them to the bottom so they are submerged. Stir in the Braggs, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. After one minute, stir in the rice noodles, making sure they break apart and don’t stick.

Add the bok choy, scallions, lime juice and a large pinch of sea salt. Cook for a few minutes until the shrimp are cooked through, and the rice noodles and bok choy are tender. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.