5 Questions with Chris Cochran - Executive Director of ReFED

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1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

After college, I was living and working in Honduras with small farmers. I saw how much goes into producing our food. Later working in grocery retail, I witnessed the waste throughout the supply chain. It seemed like such a shame to just throw food away. It also felt like a highly solvable problem with a lot of progress to be made. It's one of the few issues I’ve worked on that has such broad-based support and a wide-range of benefits financially, environmentally and socially.

2. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

My grandma was born in a generation where you did not waste. It is a natural part of who she is. She knows how to find a use for everything in her kitchen and always makes sure to use leftovers.  This is the result of coming out of a generation so affected by the Great Depression and a time where food was scarce. In an age of abundance, we have lost this mentality, but she is inspirational to me in the way that I view food waste.

3. What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

I do meal planning, create a list, and go grocery shopping with it. This means I only purchase what I know I will eat. I also think carefully about how hungry I am before ordering food. I often split dishes depending on my level of hunger.

4. What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

The first step in solving the problem is admitting we have one.  Then we need to face food waste as an opportunity. There is also a lot to be learned through observing our practices at home or in the workplace. You can learn a lot simply by taking a look at what you throw away.

5. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?  

I think everyone can make sure they purchase food based on what they need and will actually consume, rather than over-purchasing.

 

A Conversation with Laura Moore - Waste Warrior

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What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately? 

It certainly woke me up! As routine recyclers, I thought my family was made up of waste warriors – but then I realized how much more we can do.  Now that food waste is on my radar, I see opportunities for reduction everywhere.

What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the kitchen? 

Keep a sealable bag in the freezer and toss all the bits and pieces from your produce that don’t make it into your dinner.  We add everything to the same bag: skins of onions, ends of carrots, zucchini and squash, stems from herbs, leaves from celery and, a recent addition, the rinds from cheese.  When the bag fills up, we sauté all the pieces and then add water to make stock.  It’s so easy and makes me feel I-just-won-the-gold proud! 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Inspire others.  I include my kids as much as possible in testing out new creation with our leftovers.  We put the music on, call it our “Kitchen Lab” and have fun. Whenever we have a new discovered success, we share it with our friends and encourage them to do something similar in their kitchen.

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?  

Soup is my go-to move.  Once a week it’s just so easy to chop up everything that’s still in the fridge, toss it in a pot and turn it into something delicious.  But I started to stretch my newfound culinary wings by upcycling leftovers into tacos, omelettes, pasta sauces and a household favorite: Mexican Surprise. It’s a little different every time we make it, but no surprise it’s always a hit!  

A Conversation with Shelley Roberts, Managing Director Compass Group - Australia

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? 

It is estimated that around 3 million tonnes (tons) of food is wasted every year by the commercial food sector in Australia.  As the leader of the largest foodservice provider in the country I believe we can make positive change. Not only is food a valuable resource, but wasted food also costs the business millions of dollars a year. So we have environmental and financial incentives to tackle the problem.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

Tomas Moonie is our Executive Chef at Melbourne Zoo.  He and his teams (also at Werribee Zoo) are really passionate about environmental sustainability and have reduced food waste by 40% over the past 6 months – which is phenomenal!  He has been a real advocate for reducing food waste within our business – sharing useful tips with other sites. These really focus around good planning: checking what customer numbers are forecast and ordering food accordingly; creating specials out of left overs; keeping soon-to-expire items toward the front of shelves and always checking stock before placing orders. 

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

When entertaining at home I used to feel like I needed to over-cater in order to impress my guests. Now that I understand more about the impact food waste has on our planet, I am proud to get it “just right.” A clean plate rather than loads of leftovers is a sign of success to me!

What will it take for Australia to make food waste a priority? 

Australians are very environmentally conscious and the work of food charities like OzHarvest has done a great deal to raise awareness of food waste in recent years.  Last year, the Australian Government hosted a Food Waste Summit to discuss ways of combating food waste and setting targets into the future - so the issue is certainly on the public agenda.  Globally, our business has a Stop Food Waste initiative, which raises awareness of food waste and provides our sites with a range of tools and resources.  When I visit our sites I always discuss strategies to reduce food waste and am impressed by how passionate our people are about being more environmentally sustainable in our operations.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Don’t go shopping when you are hungry! Plan what you are going to eat in advance. It will reduce the amount of food you waste and save you time and money too.

5 Questions with Tony McDonald - CEO, Eurest

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1.       Which non-profit mission do you feel most committed to supporting?

There are really two: young kids--more specifically coaching boy’s youth sports--and looking after the elderly. It really looks to both ends of life’s spectrum. On one end, you have young men, so full of dreams, potential and energy, who are in some critical formative years of their lives and the other end, the elderly who are facing the challenges of aging, ailing health, loneliness and despair. Essentially, I feel compelled to help those that are having a hard time helping themselves and working to bring some hope, smiles and happiness to their lives. With aging parents and friends my focus on the elderly has amplified recently but I have been involved with youth athletics most of my adult life.

2.       How did you become personally invested?

As a young man, I was deeply involved in sports and for a time it was my world - a top priority. I remember so many great men who coached me as a young kid and through high school who had such a profound effect on me--not just developing me as an athlete, but helping me become a better human being. I was so fortunate and learned so much about life from those men who coached me, they cared about the game and the sport but more importantly they cared about me as a person. I have two great sons who I had the pleasure to coach for many years. These are some of the most rewarding years of my life. I felt like I made a positive impact on their lives. It was more than just sports. Many of these kids came from difficult situations, and many needed some direction in their lives. Sports provided that outlet where they could escape, be part of something special, gain some confidence, smile and often times improve and excel. It meant so much to me as a kid I wanted to give back and try to do my part in helping develop great young boys into great young men.

3.       What do you do to show your support?

Unfortunately, there is no time to coach anymore, but I still like to support youth sports. I worry at times that youth sports continue to fade and that kids’ perception of sports is what they see on TV and ESPN. Kids need the dedication and time of great role models who can not only teach the game but help teach them about life. The minds and hearts of young kids are what are at stake here. I still like to support fundraising for youth sports, especially for those communities or families that can’t afford to make it happen.  I can’t resist to hobble out of my car in my suit when I get home to throw the ball around or shoot some hoops with a neighborhood kid. To see that smile is worth the aches and pains the next day!

4.       Can you share a story when you realized your efforts were making a difference?

I was in the Boston airport not long ago when young man named Brian approached me, stuck out his hand and said, “Hey, Coach McDonald.” I had not seen Brian in probably ten years and there he was: all grown up, starting a career, married and a kid on the way. Despite that he still called me “coach.” He went on to say what a great experience he had with me and we spent the next 15 minutes reminiscing and telling stories about the great couple of seasons we had together on the ballfield. Brian said those couple of years together with that team helped prepare him for growing up, learning some life lessons and developing relationships with his teammates that still exist today. He said those years were some of most cherished times of his childhood and hopes that his children can experience something like that one day. Pretty cool!

5.       Why is it important to you to give your time to others?

Well, time--to me--is the great equalizer. We were all created with different talents and skills; we all come from different backgrounds and cultures, different beliefs, and priorities. We also come from various educations and socio-economic conditions. The one thing we all have in common, however, is that everyone is only given 24 hours each day. The differentiator is how we choose to use that time. I believe it is perhaps our most precious asset, can never be replenished or renewed - we can’t go to the mall and buy some more time. Because of this, I feel it is the most impactful way to show others you care. Without question there are many people that can benefit from our talents and treasure, but the lasting effect of just spending time with someone--a young child or an elderly person--never fades. It stays embedded in their hearts and minds forever. Sending a check, gift or flowers can create a smile, but soon after can fade or be forgotten. My sense is spending time with people, ignoring our phones for a stretch, really focusing on another person in need, and making them feel like they are the most important person in your life is the most important and impactful thing you can do for someone.

 

A Conversation with Jesse Hocker - Business Excellence, Consumer Engagement

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What got you involved in stopping food waste?

Believe it or not, it was watching an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.  He did a fantastic show about the impact of food waste, the misconceptions around donating food and how easy it is to make a change.   It is definitely must-see television for anyone who is interested in getting involved.  His piece was well-written with staggering numbers and a really simple directive: Go do something about it! Luckily for me, I work in the industry for a great company and with amazing colleagues that are willing to be part of the solution!

How do you reduce food waste at home in your kitchen?

The secret is shopping at regular intervals and ALWAYS making a list.  I also look at my calendar to make certain that when I am traveling the refrigerator is bare.  Restaurants and organizations like Compass Group do a great job keeping their waste low because they are financially incentivized to do so.  They also have a ton of programs and resources in place to help them reduce waste.  The average shopper doesn’t realize how much food and money they are personally dumping into the local landfill.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Honestly, do a Google search regarding food waste and look at the numbers.  The amount of resources wasted by the average home is shocking and broad reaching.  If you want to combat global warming, gas emissions, stop wasting water and other natural resources – Stop Wasting Food!

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Really simple and delicious ways to get rid of leftovers are the classic breakfast omelets / frittatas.  Basically, take everything in your refrigerator, toss it in a skillet and add eggs.  It is really hard to mess up and always turns out fantastic.

5 Questions with Chef Trevett Hooper, Legume Bistro

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1.       Using one ingredient/product that gets 100% utilization as an example, tell us how that ingredient travels through your kitchen, and the different places it ends up?

We use the cobs from fresh corn to make stock in the summer months. It has a great flavor and a natural sweetness that lends itself to many applications, especially vegetarian.  To make it, we just boil leftover corncobs from which the kernels have been removed--no other aromatics. 

We use the corn stock in corn soup, to replace water in polenta and corn grits. 

Another thing is pickle brines, which we use in cocktails, braises, sauces, and vinaigrettes. 

2.       What ingredient(s), for example, would most be surprised to learn has gone from bin to menu?

I mentioned this in the meeting, but I can't stress enough how wonderful chicken schmaltz is. After we skim chicken stock of impurities during the first 30 minutes of so, we skim the fat off the top and use it like we would use canola oil to sauté all of our meat and poultry proteins in. Replacing purchased canola oil with something that we used to go out in the oil barrel has saved us a lot of money. 

3.       How did you go about engaging and inspiring your employees towards your sustainability vision?

I write a monthly newsletter which I share with my guests and my staff. It is mostly about what goes into the food behind-the-scenes, the relationships with our farmers and stories about local foods. The regular distribution of the newsletter has been very valuable for us in terms of shaping the narrative about our restaurant. 

4.       What did you find was the number one cause for waste in the kitchen and how did you address that?

I mentioned in the meeting that our #1 waste was staff meal, and that we addressed it by paying more attention to how much we were making.  We also worked on making staff meal better every day, which also reduced leftovers because people were more excited to eat it!

5.       How do you creatively utilize and re-purpose leftovers?

My best approach to leftovers involves understanding the value of having dual concepts, high-end and low-end close to each other.  For example, being able to have an outlet for broken portions that might not work on a high-end menu, but can get shredded into a ragout to be served over pasta at a more casual spot next door. 

 

A Conversation with Justin Williams, Executive Director - Morgan Stanley

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I lived in Asia for over 20 years and during that time I experienced the mass consumer demand with the disposable attitude of the early 1990’s. Among other things, this left us with beaches and seas full of waste causing us to go further afield to be able to find clean places just to go swimming. This encouraged me to participate in and drive recycling and waste reduction programs. I was personally thrilled when, years later, we were able to eliminate all disposables from our food services and pantries in offices across Asia. Now that I am in America, I am trying to move our services away from disposables and promote recycling, at the same time we continue to monitor and refine our food production to reduce waste.

I believe that it is important for you to be able to make an emotional connection with your audience as people are more responsive.

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Not over-shopping. We all can get carried away, especially when we are food shopping while hungry! I really think about the meals I am planning for, so that we don’t have food going to waste. It is easy to buy food on promotion, but if you aren’t going to be able to eat it all, you are just throwing money away.

What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

Cost. Only when it hits people in the pocket will things change. That’s when it personally impacts them. It is too easy for people to turn a blind-eye to this or say it has no effect on their lives, but if there is a financial cost, people will take notice.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Look for products that don’t use wasteful packaging and say no to disposables when you can. No to plastic bags, no to disposable cutlery with your take-out food. If you must use disposables, be sure to recycle them; it really isn’t that hard to find a recycle bin.

5 Questions with Chef Ed Brown - Restaurant Associates

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1.   What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?
I think it’s terrific. This is something where everyone can actually make a difference. People need this information and education to understand the massive amount of food wasted and how that negatively effects our planet. Armed with this information, we can make informed and painless choices and easily make a big impact.

2.   What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen? Elevate the awareness of every food service associate on the importance of being more conscious of reducing food waste at the source--and what they can do to address the issue.  
The easiest, and most common-sense way to reduce food waste is to buy less food--seriously! I constantly challenge our chefs who tell me they use 50 lbs. of a product every two days to order 40 lbs. and let me know what happens. Ninety percent of the time, the answer is we now buy 20-30 lbs. less per week, which is a huge reduction in waste potential--not only because you bought less of one thing, but because you will sell more of the products you have without necessarily reducing variety. My motto: until you are on the brink of running out, you have too much. And, of course, there is the added financial benefit to purchasing less food!

3.   How about in the home kitchen?
At home, think carefully when at the grocery or market. Consider what you might have thrown away last week. Question yourself when you are enticed by those gorgeous strawberries: when will I actually eat them? Will I even be home in the next few days to eat them? If you do buy them and they are getting on the older side, make the effort to utilize them. Make a smoothie or cook them with a pinch of sugar for five minutes and keep in the fridge; it’s great on toast or with ice cream. The possibilities are endless! And I think I have an idea for my next cookbook…

4.   What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
BE AWARE! Just consider what you buy: utilize it to the absolute fullest and look at what you throw away.

5.   What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?
I’m a huge fan of making pastas or omelets with a wide range of ingredients. One of my favorites was a Caesar Pasta (See Below) that I featured on TODAY show.  I had ingredients for the salad but not really enough for a full dinner, so I made into a pasta dish that was outstanding!

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A Conversation with Danielle Nierenberg - Food Tank President & Founder

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

It’s a massive problem, both domestically and internationally, but has so many exciting solutions.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

I’m inspired by farmers in fields around the globe who are coming up with innovative ways to prevent post-harvest losses without much support from governments or research institutions and also what women farmers are doing to preserve and add value to food—including making vegetable powder for soups and other foods in Mali and making dried mango and fish in The Gambia.

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

I travel all the time so I try to both not overbuy and use all of the perishable food or freeze it before I leave.

What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

What I like so much about this issue is that it is truly bi-partisan—no one is “for” wasting food and no one wants to waste money. You can literally see both eaters and policymakers have an “ah-hah” moment when they realized that wasting food is throwing away money. I think preventing food waste requires us to value food and realize it isn’t as cheap as the price we pay at the grocery store.

 

Becky Green - Our Waste Warrior of the Week

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1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

Finally! Reducing food waste can impact so many issues that are hurting our planet. Hunger, depleting natural resources and climate change are just a few that can be significantly changed if everyone thought twice about what they put in their trash.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the kitchen?

Awareness. That is why I think the continuous attention food waste is getting is so great! Once you start thinking about what you’re buying and throwing away each week you will reduce your food waste. Take a second every day to scan your fridge and see what you have left and what will soon go bad. It will make a difference, I promise!

3. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Make the effort to reduce your waste and then share your stories with friends. Have fun with it! As I mentioned before, if we can work together to get everyone thinking before they send food to landfill, we can make great change.

4. What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

I love sweet potatoes and they go with anything--sweet or savory. I love making sweet potato bowls in the morning with nut butter and granola or sweet potato bowls in the afternoon with leftover veggies or greens that will soon go off.

5 Questions with Chef Alex Seidel, Executive Chef & Proprietor

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1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

It is a great topic and something that I talk to my family about often.   Ever since I was a young chef, controlling waste through organization and complete utilization is how one respects food.  This proactive approach to running a lean kitchen isn’t only essential for running a sound business but it is a skill that people should take home with them as well. 

2. What are your best tips to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

It starts with understanding what goes into the kitchen trash. It is not just the preparation of food, it starts with ordering and the chain is linked until the guest has finished their meal and the plate comes back to the kitchen.  Once you are aware of the waste that is created, it takes constant communication and training with your team about the importance of product utilization, portion size and organization. Nose-to-tail has certainly become trendy as of late but chefs have thought about food waste for a long time because food cost has always been part of the kitchen culture.   I really appreciate the increased awareness.  It has created a conversation and a new way of thinking about food waste. Getting people to think about the critical state our food systems are in, is really important.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

Controlling waste at home is especially difficult for a busy family.   You have to plan, to think about your meals ahead of time, think about when you have time to eat and be cognizant of your schedule. Being a busy chef, my wife takes care of all of the little things but she can come home with a salmon fillet and some crab cakes without considering the fact that we have kid’s gymnastics and football practice the next couple nights.  Getting home at 9pm is not a good time to start cooking salmon and days later the quality is no good and the salmon is forced to be thrown away.  Often the lack of awareness on the time you actually have to cook for the family creates waste but proper planning can make a tremendous impact. 

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

I have noticed as I have gotten older and paying more attention to my health, that portion control is very key. If we could just reduce the sheer amount of food that we consume in every meal, our food system would not be under tremendous weight to over produce food, grow it such a rapid rate, or genetically modify foods.  I used to cook a ribeye for each person at the table and we would do our best to finish all of the meat, but now the four of us share a ribeye. Changing eating habits will put less pressure on our food system and create a healthier society.

5. What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Honestly, I hate leftovers so it is all about getting better at cooking for one or two or four or whatever size your group is. Having said that there are certain leftovers that I really love, obviously Thanksgiving, you can create a lot of different things with turkey. But I don’t like to eat the same meal twice so it is about repurposing and turning a protein into something different.

 

5 Questions with Scott Davis, CEO of FLIK

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1.   What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I worked for Whole Foods in the late 80’s and  90’s.  The issues back then are the same today. Working for a corporate culture / platform that is based on sustainability really made it personal for me.

2.   Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

I personally participate in our town’s central recycling center and Chris (the site’s attendant is an  engaging personality) makes the visits fun.  My guess is that people go to talk with Chris and the recycling is secondary.

3.   What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

It is a lifestyle.  My family has been working on eliminating our waste for years. The single biggest thing I am constantly reminding myself and my family how many people in America go to bed hungry.   I serve on the board for Hunger Related Events (Taste of the NFL) and we are working on the recapture of food as well as raising funds for food banks across the country.

4.   What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

We need more education in the public school systems and a strong social media campaign of how debilitating waste is in this country. It is all about awareness(kids will put pressure on their parents) and adopting better practices. Culturally we need to be raising the issue everywhere.

5.   What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Visit a shelter and see how the smallest of contributions can make the biggest of impacts. Awareness will nurture new behaviors that will become habit and culture.

5 Questions with Regina Northouse, Executive Director of Food Recovery Network

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1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

My role as Executive Director of Food Recovery Network has brought together my passion for ending food waste and hunger, my experience with individual leadership development, and my belief in young people as powerful agents of change. I’ve dedicated my career to non-profit work, as I believe it can generate solutions to many problems in our communities. Sustainability efforts require big systems change, small systems change, innovative and disruptive system change and individual behavior change. This kind of work requires collaboration, another powerful ingredient to change that I am committed to fostering. And that’s just one of many skills needed. I believe that this food recovery movement, led by a whole generation of passionate young people, are is going to be the ones who what significantly disrupts status-quo problems.

2. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

Working for a national organization with more than 230 chapters on college campuses is humbling. Every student in our network has their own inspiring story. I’m always excited to share some of them! For example, in the wake of Hurricane Irma, our students at the University of Tampa showed incredible strength and resilience. And at FRN, our students donate their food to local nonprofit organizations such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens or food pantries. We call those nonprofits our “nonprofit partner agencies.” Our Tampa chapter would go goes beyond just dropping off their nutritious food to their local agency--they would also volunteer as mentors, working with the elementary students there. When the building where this nonprofit was housed suffered terrible fire damage from hurricane Irma, our students worked to continue to feed the people supported by that nonprofit. We didn’t even know about the fire damage and what they were doing to help ensure people were being fed until we reached out to see if our student leaders in the affected areas were okay. They just felt this is what they had to do in the wake of such a tragedy.

3. What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Food waste can happen to the best of us — it definitely happens to me — but I try to eat the produce I’ve purchased as soon as possible and put food that needs to be consumed first in the front of my fridge. For the unavoidable food scraps, I make sure to compost all organic matter. Another nonprofit that I love, called Ample Harvest also is a way for home growers like myself to donate my surplus grown produce to local nonprofits if I can’t consume it all, freeze or preserve it, or give it away. It’s a great resource. And, the founder of Ample Harvest is on the FRN advisory board!

4. What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

For this country to truly make food waste a priority, there are changes that we can make at every step of the food production process as I noted earlier

We have to make a concerted effort to educate Americans — and I’m sure you’ve seen some of the cool educational campaigns that have cropped up. More conversations about the way we consume food are being had every day, and FRN is here to amplify those conversations and the action steps that come from those discussions. Let’s not shame people for whatever part they may have in food being wasted, but give them the tools and resources to make everyday behavior changes that can make such a big difference. People are pretty savvy about preventing food waste once they’re given the right resources. I’ve yet to meet someone who wants to waste food or waste money.

5. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Besides making sure their school or alma mater has an FRN chapter, there are many small changes that every person can make. Here are a few simple things that can make a huge difference:

•  Have an “eat me first” bin in your fridge to make sure fresh produce isn’t wasted.

•  If you’re eating at a buffet, try not to mound over your plate, but go up as needed. You’ll get your money’s worth no matter what, but getting your money’s worth doesn’t mean throwing away the two whole pieces of chicken or an entire piece of cornbread you just couldn’t finish.

•  Look closely at the buying patterns in your home. Buying in bulk doesn’t save you money if you’re not using the full product. If you buy a huge container of hummus because it’s cheaper, but you’re wasting half of it, think about buying a smaller amount the next time you’re at the store.

 

Q & A with Amy Keister, VP of Sustainability - Compass Group

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1.  What originally inspired you to get involved in your work?

My grandparents never wasted anything. Food was precious to them, not something that was taken for granted or thrown away.

2.  What makes you continue to want to be involved in this kind of work?

First and foremost my two children. I want to help change our behaviors and attitudes toward food so that they have a better relationship with both food and waste.   I’m also extremely inspired by the results we have achieved to date on reducing food waste and am humbled by the task still at hand.

3.  Who inspired you as a kid?

My parents really inspired me while growing up in a rural town in Connecticut. It wasn’t a farm, just an acre or so, but my parents acted as if it was. We grew all of our veggies, had fruit trees, and we canned everything that we didn’t use right away. We had chickens, pigs, and a pet cow named hamburger…Nothing went to waste. Ever.

4.  What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?

Awareness that 40 percent of food in America is wasted, that sell-by dates are misleading, communicating how easy it is for everyone make a little change, and how all of these little changes add up to tremendous change.

5.  Can you share a story about a food hero who inspired you?

Tom Colicchio. Not only is Tom a fantastic chef, he is a true humanitarian. Chef Tom founded Food Policy Action in 2012 to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming. He has been an outspoken voice on issues like improving school meals, the use of antibiotics in food sources, and better anti-hunger policies in America. I was honored to have Tom Colicchio partner with us on Stop Food Waste Day to bring about the change that is needed in our world to combat food waste.

6.  What’s the most pressing issue in food and agriculture that you’d like to see solved?

The overwhelming amount of food from going to farm to landfill. I want to see more food going from farm to table.

7.  What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Shop with a shopping list.

5 Questions with Chef Bill Chodan - FLIK - SVP of Culinary

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1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

Long overdue, unfortunately we have grown up in a wasteful time. Earlier generations treated food as a more valuable commodity due to the less availability. With the availability of a bounty of foods and ingredients today it has become less of a valued resource.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

Monitoring the waste stream. Both from a food preparation and customer standpoint. Teaching employees on proper cooking techniques and uses of ingredients that commonly end up in the trash.  In addition to monitoring food portioning, over portioning will also contribute to excess waste.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

The same approach, watching the amount of food purchased at the supermarket and prepared at home. Implementing home composting wherever possible.

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Do not bite off more than you can chew. Only purchase and prepare portions of what you can consume.

5 .What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Soup! Every weekend I look through my refrigerator to see what leftovers I have and decide what soup I can prepare.

Morrison Healthcare donates $8,000 to the Asheville Poverty Initiative

Pictured from L-R: Morrison Regional Director of Operations Jason Channell, Anne Leventer and Shannon Spencer from the Asheville Poverty Initiative, Mission Health Chief Vice President of Operations Jonathan Bailey, Morrison Executive Chef Mark Albano, and Morrison Regional Vice President Karl Sukley. Queen Mother, also from the Asheville Poverty Initiative, is seated in front.

Pictured from L-R: Morrison Regional Director of Operations Jason Channell, Anne Leventer and Shannon Spencer from the Asheville Poverty Initiative, Mission Health Chief Vice President of Operations Jonathan Bailey, Morrison Executive Chef Mark Albano, and Morrison Regional Vice President Karl Sukley. Queen Mother, also from the Asheville Poverty Initiative, is seated in front.

Morrison Healthcare, Mission Health’s exclusive Food and Nutrition Services partner, today donated $8,000 to the Asheville Poverty Initiative. The donation was made possible as a result of Morrison and its Mission Health account being recognized by parent company Compass Group as the national Compass In The Community Gold award winner for 2017.

In North Carolina, one in four children is food insecure -- that is one of the highest rates of food insecurity in children under 18 years of age in the country.  Hunger-fighting nonprofits, such as the  Asheville Poverty Initiative (API), play a significant role in providing nutritious meals to adults and children experiencing food insecurity. API serves 1,600 meals every month to individuals in need living in Asheville, North Carolina. The nonprofit serves food to individuals through their cafe, 12 Baskets Cafe, with a focus on creating an inclusive communal space. API also accepts donations of surplus, prepared foods from local businesses. The Morrison team at Mission Health has donated 3,600 pounds of food to API since their partnership began. Shannon Spencer, the Executive Director of API, appreciates the diversity of food that Mission donates, “We pick up from several restaurants, we get a lot of the same foods from these restaurants. What we get from Mission allows us to offer much more diverse meals. The protein, the vegetables -- oftentimes it’s something completely different from what we are picking up from hot bars and cafes.”

Thank you to our partners at Eatable for providing us with such an inspiring act.  Visit their website at www.eatablefood.com

5 Questions with Chef Cary Neff - VP of Culinary - Morrison Healthcare

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1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

I feel strongly that this is a personal and professional responsibility for everyone to increase their awareness of the millions of pounds of usable foods that goes to waste and the millions of people who are without safe, sustainable and accessible foods. It’s imperative that we take an active part in addressing this national crisis.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

Increase the awareness of every food service associate of the importance to be more conscious of reducing food waste at the source and what they can do to address the issue.  A.) Awareness of the issue and how it affects our/their community to help the associate visualize their “why” to become more actively involved. B.) Conscious menu development and inventory controls to cross-utilize products to better utilize the whole product. C.) Organize kitchen production areas, associate schedules and work assignments to create greater efficiencies. Full brigade system or hot and cold production and product requisition system, to eliminate duplicate food production and incremental waste. D.) Daily use of production schedules to census or guest count coupled with training and planned use of by or left over products.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

At home it’s very important and cost effective to plan meals daily or weekly prior to shopping for products, in an effort to reduce the purchase of unused foods. Over purchasing of home food products and spoilage is one of the largest contributors of food waste.

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Handle and store unused foods safely to utilize in another meal. For example cooked grains and vegetables from one meal can easily be converted into a salad or soup for another meal.

5. What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

In addition to converting to soups or salads, breakfast hash and 1 dish casseroles are my go to ways to repurpose leftovers. For instance leftover Thanksgiving meal is converted to tasty and colorful casserole by layering whipped potatoes, cooked vegetables, yams, dressing, cranberry sauce,  turkey and gravy.

5 Questions with Bal Arneson - Chef & Author

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1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

I think it is very important for people to be educated on food waste, so we can make better daily choices to help our planet – so I think its amazing all the attention this topic is receiving. With all this attention, it makes us more conscious on how we purchase, prepare, and store our food.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

In professional kitchens, there is such a high volume of food that it can be easy to waste. Participating in composting, donating left over food, and recycling menu items is a quick way to reduce food waste in a professional kitchen. Planning out your menu so you can use leftover products is an efficient way to make sure everything is getting used.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

At home, an easy way I reduce food waste is I always take my vegetable peels and use it later to make a vegetable broth. I teach my family that to prevent food waste, we need to be conscious about this from planning our menu, to shopping at the grocery store, and how we store our food at home. If we notice that we have leftovers and ingredients that need to be used, we will have a day once a week where we create new recipes with what we have in the fridge. 

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

One very quick choice that everyone can make is to take time out of your day to check your fridge, and organize it, so you can make sure everything is in proper containers, and that you don’t purchase more of something until you have used it up all at home!

5. What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Making soup is a great way to use your leftover vegetables! You can make a big pot and freeze it, or give some to your neighbors too!

5 Questions with CFO Andrew Large

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1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I don’t think we can deny that climate change is real. By reducing how much food we waste hopefully we can have a positive impact on global warming. On a day-to-day level, it just makes good economic sense! Using all your food= spending less in the long run; and as finance guy this is a win win!

2. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

Food Recovery Network are a wonderful organization, recovering perishable food from our college accounts and donating it people who need it in the local community. So impressed when I saw these guys!

3. What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Freezing leftovers! Just an easy way to make sure you finish everything. We prepare and cook less = better on the waste line!

4. What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

Getting the word out there that 40% of food produced in the Unites Stated ends up wasted. 40%.......that is almost half of all food produced!!

5. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference

Meal plan- knowing exactly how you’re going to use the food so you can shop for just what you need. Plan ahead and by doing so it actually takes the chore out of what to cook (plus by keeping a record you have menu/recipe items you can refer back to for inspiration!)

5 Questions with Scott MacLellan - President & CEO of Morrison Community Living

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1. Which non-profit mission do you feel most committed to supporting?

I serve on the board of a number on non-profit organizations, but the one most relevant to our business was the 10 years I spent on the Foundation Board at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, one of Morrison's customers.

2. How did you become personally invested?

My youngest daughter had survived cancer three times by the age of seven. She's had two liver transplants and over 150 surgeries in her lifetime. So naturally, I have a deep affinity towards children with serious illness and their families. I know what it's like to live moment by moment, wondering what the next bit of news will bring, or what challenges your child will face when the morning comes.

3. What do you do to show your support?

I support all the Boards where I serve with my time, attention, prayers and finances. But I think the real support comes when you invest personally in the people whom these boards serve. It's one thing to write a check, or attend a meeting; it's altogether different to share in the lives and the experience of people in need. When you experience that need firsthand, your service to the organization ramps up to a completely different level.

4. Can you share a story when you realized your efforts were making a difference?

It is easy to see how these amazing organizations realize their purpose by serving those they were created to help. You can see that difference firsthand. And I'm incredibly honored to play some very small role in that. But I think the moment that hit me the most, actually, was when my oldest daughter posted on social media that I was traveling on a mission. I hadn't even thought about the impact this work was having on my own family. It really gave me one of those "gut" moments when you realize something bigger than yourself is happening.

5. Why is it important to you to give your time to others?

We live day to day in the service industry. Every day I am inspired by what our people do to serve patients and residents at some of their most vulnerable moments. When you spend your days watching people with compassionate hearts touch the lives of people at the soul level, it's hard not to turn around and do something yourself. When you talk to these amazing associates, all of them will tell you that giving to others enriches their lives even more. I think that's part of the mystery of life. It is in giving that we receive.