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Food Shift's Alameda Kitchen, Oakland, CA

The Alameda Kitchen will recover, process, and redistribute good food, while providing workforce training for the community.

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The Alameda Kitchen will transform surplus, slightly blemished produce into value-added, ready-to-eat products for the community through a work-training program employing individuals from the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), a housing community for formerly homeless individuals and families. Our holistic approach will ignite economic opportunity, improve community health, reclaim food as culture, and revive community connections.

The kitchen will bring positive change on micro and macro levels of our food system. On an individual scale, those who complete the training program will benefit from increased money, skills, empowerment, well-being, and self-sufficiency. The program will provide a new market for local businesses and farms to distribute and sell their surplus items. On a community-scale, Alameda Kitchen will increase access to healthy, low cost food for vulnerable and food insecure populations, and contribute to improved community health. On a system scale, Alameda Kitchen will increase the amount of edible food kept out of the waste stream, and will ignite a shift in culture to be more conscious of wasted food and its consequences.

a catalyst for nutrition and good health

Using fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be discarded from farms and distributors due to imperfections, the Alameda Kitchen will create nutritious food products that can be sold to local food businesses and provided at low cost to food insecure communities. The products we sell to businesses at market value will subsidize fresher, and healthier meals for agencies that are working to promote food access for vulnerable populations.

Maximizing impact with strategic practices

Since 40% of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, we have an enormous amount of food to rescue. The Alameda Kitchen’s strategy to maximize usage of all rescued foods is to focus on producing one highly versatile product: hearty, healthy soups. Nearly all rescued produce can make for delicious soup ingredients and the aesthetic quality of those initial ingredients is entirely irrelevant to our final product. Soups also have the advantage of being easily frozen or canned for an indefinitely long shelf life. The Alameda Kitchen’s focus on soup production will exponentially increase the amount of food we are able to save from landfills. This, in turn, mitigates the total amount of harmful greenhouse gas emissions while further capitalizing on the natural resources already spent to produce these valuable foods.

Moving beyond charity to provide jobs

Our work training program, executed in collaboration with Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), will provide participants with the tools, employment opportunities, information and support they need to successfully re-enter the workforce. The Alameda Kitchen will train, educate, engage, and employ APC residents while using the kitchen as a catalyst to meet other community needs.  Food Shift cares deeply about ending the cycle of poverty and hunger and we know that food alone won’t solve hunger.  APC residents want to get back to work, and the kitchen will provide hands-on-experience and support to make it possible.

Soups prepared at the Alameda Kitchen with rescued produce

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Solutions to combat food waste will need to be as multifaceted as the problem itself. The Alameda Kitchen is a financially sustainable model that reduces food waste while addressing hunger and creating jobs.

Tell us about your work experience:

Food Shift works collaboratively with communities, businesses, and governments to develop long-term sustainable solutions to reduce food waste and build more resilient communities.

This post emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm


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