If the problem of food waste is social, environmental, and economic, so is the solution.
The Alameda Kitchen, a project of Food Shift, is a social enterprise model aimed at creating a sustainable, community empowering, holistic solution to wasted food. Inside the kitchen, rescued foods are converted into nutritious meals by disadvantaged, formerly homeless community members who face significant barriers to employment. Enrollment in our on-the-job culinary training program will help to highlight the capacity and strength of each participant - all while keeping healthy, nutritious foods from entering landfills and redistributed to the community.
While receiving culinary training from Food Shift’s Production Chef, kitchen trainees earn wages and transform surplus, otherwise wasted, produce into an array of delicious soups and sides. During this first phase, most of the food has been donated to City Team, a group that feeds food insecure populations in Oakland. While maintaining our commitment to redistributing quality food to food insecure populations, in the next phase of the kitchen we would like to develop a revenue generation strategy that allows us to sustain the program financially.
The Alameda Kitchen project operates out of Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), a supportive housing community working to end the cycle of poverty for formerly homeless individuals. On-the-job trainees for the Alameda Kitchen are recruited exclusively from APC’s community of residents, who can walk or take a short bus ride to work. While employed through our program, participants take courses in career-readiness and receive assistance after graduation in taking further steps towards sustainable self-care, employment, education, or volunteer work.
Original inspiration for the Alameda Kitchen came directly from Robert Egger’s DC Central Kitchen, a social enterprise combating hunger with recycled food while providing culinary training for out-of-work individuals. Since 1989, the Kitchen (which is a $11 million a year, self-sustaining, social enterprise) has produced over 30 million meals and helped 1,500 men and women gain full time employment. This model is powerful - transforming both lives and food - and Food Shift is supported closely by Robert Egger and his team. With the right partners and funding we can bring the power of this model to the Bay Area.
This model is a catalyst for nutrition and good health, embraces social enterprise, moves beyond charity to provide jobs, and replicates what's working. The Alameda Kitchen is a realistic strategy that embraces the potential of food to be used as a tool to empower people and strengthen communities. This is a way that we can do more than just feeding people through a soup kitchen by also “feeding” them through skill building, employment and opportunity. Rather than spending more resources on waste disposal or expanding our food banks, we need to explore, invest in and replicate innovative models that are creating opportunity and developing more healthy communities.
Join us in scaling and supporting this powerful in the Bay Area!