Whay Wate Food Wednesday InternFood Waste

An Interns Journey to Fight Food Waste and Reduce Hunger

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

By Kelly Alarcon

As a full-time Nutrition and Dietetics student and intern at Food Finders, nutrition and reducing hunger and food waste are an important part of my life.  I learned in my junior year of school at California State, Long Beach how many people in the United States go to bed hungry every night, so many of them children, and my heart broke.  I knew then that my passion for nutrition and eating for wellness was not all I was passionate about.

 I quickly became vested in learning how I could not only educate people on the benefits of healthy eating but also help reduce food waste while getting that food to those in need. 

Student, Kelly Alarcon

I realized that in addition to my love of nutrition, my knack for meal planning and shopping on a limited budget was something that could play a big part in helping people to reduce food waste. The question for me was how could I combine these two skills and make a bigger impact? 

Food Waste is a Problem

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States with the vast majority of waste occurring in the home.  Poor planning and expiration dates on the food we purchase are large contributors.  Many would rather toss food they aren’t sure about, which affects the environment and wastes billions of gallons of water each and every month.

43% of food waste stat

Food Finders is an amazing solution to the food waste problem. They have a mission to “eliminate hunger and food waste” through the rescue of food in Southern California, and then they repurpose that food through a network of local community partners. I especially like the final part of their mission: “…while improving nutrition in food insecure communities.”

That is why I am an intern and a Nutrition Talks Educator with them. I have seen some amazing things while working here and for me, the most impressive is that last year, in 2021 they rescued 15,917,982 pounds of food!

Food that became over 13 million meals.

Resources and Education

USDA Food Keepers App

We are working hard to provide education and resources that explain not only how to properly store food but how to interpret the various expiration dates we see on food such as “use by”, ‘sell by” etc.  

The FoodKeepers application supported by the USDA is a great resource to help people sort through the confusing world of labels and dates.  It can help you not only interpret the varying expiration date labels but can also explain the best storage methods for various foods to reduce waste.  

Meal Planning

Meal planning is one of the biggest ways that all of us can stop food waste.  Who hasn’t gone to the grocery store hungry and bought more than they needed?

When you plan your meals, or even just your shopping, it reduces food waste.  And don’t forget that planning ahead is also easy on your wallet–a big plus!  Planning your meals for the week and then creating your shopping list based on your meals can cut food waste by 15% or more.  Imagine if we all did that?!

Tip For Cutting Food Waste

  • Shop the grocery store weekly ads. With the cost of food up by 25% or more, finding proteins that are on sale that week is where I start my meal planning.
  • DO NOT go to the store hungry. Going grocery shopping hungry guarantees I will buy some overpriced and over-processed snacks that I promptly eat on the way home.  This not only takes me out of budget but is unhealthy.  
  • I stick to your list that coordinates with the meals you want to make for the week.
  • Prepare your fruits and veggies for the week–so they don’t go bad.  If I have salads planned I pre-cut and wash my lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, and cucumbers. I also wash and cut up any melons or fruit for the week as well.  Doing this makes busy weeks easier and allows for a nutritious snack of fruit that is easy to grab.

Nutrition Talks Program

nutrition talks from Food finders1

This is all information I use when in a Nutrition Talk event with one of our partner agencies.  I do a basic overview of nutrition and its importance with interactive tools that keep people engaged in what they are learning. One example is my Nutrition Facts Label workshop which starts with a scavenger hunt looking for a pantry item with a nutrition facts label and ties up with a Q & A on what was learned.  This coming week’s talk will also have Isabel Gallegos, my supervisor and co-creator of the Nutrition Talks Program. We will be looking in the partner agencies’ refrigerators and pantries to create a meal with what they have deemed as surplus foods that they have indicated typically go to waste.  It is an eye-opening event!

This is just one more of what Food Finders does to reduce hunger and food waste.  It isn’t enough that we are getting food into the hands of those who are in need but also to educate them on the many nutrient-dense meals that can be created while reducing waste.   

#StopFoodWasteWednesday #nutritiontalks #tipsforzerowaste #foodfindersinc

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Kelly Alarcon, a Student at California State University, Long Beach with a concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics has a passion for showing others the path to wellness through nutrition while reducing hunger and food waste.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-alarcon-194313220/

Nutrition Talks Cooking Demo image 1
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chicken and broccoli with dill sauce served on plateNutrition

Budget Bite Monday Recipe

Budget Bite Monday, an Inexpensive Meal for the Whole Family.

Paychecks do not stretch as far as they once did, and grocery and produce prices only seem to be on a steady rise. For this series, Food Finders will share an easy, low budget meal every Monday, that will not only help you cut down on costs, but also keep your family fed with delicious, healthy foods.

Chicken and Broccoli with Dill Sauce

Chicken and broccoli with dill sauce. Taste of Home. (2022, April 28). Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chicken-and-broccoli-with-dill-sauce/ 

For this #budgetbitemonday we’re sharing a #mealunder10. Juicy chicken and fresh broccoli, all topped with a perfectly bright dill sauce. This appetizing recipe is an inexpensive, savory dish for the whole family!

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, 6 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill
  • 1 cup 2 % milk

Directions

  1. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; brown chicken on both sides. Remove from the pan.
  2. Add broccoli and broth to the same skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until broccoli is just tender, 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove broccoli from the pan, reserving broth. Keep broccoli warm.
  3. In a small bowl, mix flour, dill and milk until smooth; stir into broth in a pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Add chicken; cook, covered, over medium heat until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 165°, 10-12 minutes. Serve with broccoli.

Tips

  • If you’re buying whole broccoli stalks, don’t throw out the stems! Peel away the tough outer portion and chop the center to use in soups and stir-fries or add to salads and slaws.
  • Fresh sugar snap peas would also work well in this recipe; adjust the cooking time as needed.
  • Add sliced mushrooms and carrots on top for extra veggies and serve with a side of couscous or rice. 

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #budgetbitemonday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

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Nutrition Talks ProgramCommunity

More Than Just A Meal: Food Finders Nutrition Talks Program

Have you ever wondered what healthy eating looks like for the 38 million Americans currently facing food insecurity?

Nutrition Talks Cooking Demo image 1
Low Carb Burrito Bowl for Jamboree Residents

In response to SB1383, food recovery and donation programs are in full swing, in an effort to reduce organic waste. As more and more grocery stores, schools, and other food generators scramble to establish their food donation programs, nonprofits gather to secure more resources to feed their communities. Food Finders is addressing food scarcity through programs that go beyond providing a meal for a moment or a day. Through our Nutrition Talks program, we are working directly with food insecure individuals to provide nutritional education and resources to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent further organic waste.

More Than Reducing Hunger

Recovery Community Cares Fridge

Our Nutrition Talks Program, co-created and led by our Nutrition Education intern, Kelly Alarcon is available to any one of our nonprofit partners, free of cost. Kelly is in her third year at Cal State University Long Beach, studying Nutrition & Dietetics. Kelly has been leading Nutrition Talks since the start of 2022 and agrees that “securing food is crucial but the need does not end there.” Together, Kelly and I have presented our educational program to several nonprofit partners ranging from sober living residentials to affordable housing organizations. It is evident that more can and should be done in the fight to reduce hunger.

Providing individuals who experience food scarcity with tools to better understand their health and eating habits, we have been able to better assess the impact rescued food has on nutrition, lifestyle, and sustainability practices. In addition to education, we offer tips for healthy eating on a budget and have even added a cooking demo component that works to put those healthy habits into practice. 

Community Education

Nutrition Facts Label Workshop

Although our talks aim to highlight the benefits of choosing fruit and vegetables over chips and cookies, many emergency relief boxes and grocery store donations do not offer the kind of fresh and nutritionally dense foods that would be optimal for making better choices. For this reason, our presentations are designed to give our partners and their residents the opportunity to bring their questions and concerns about food donation quality and recovery practices into an open forum for discussion.

Q & As

During one of our Q&As, we received inspiring feedback from a resident of our nonprofit partner, Recovery Community Cares who implored food generators donating to please, “give from your hearts and give a donation of quality and dignity.” We would like to thank our partners who have already donated with this message in mind. Whether it be food, resources, your time, or financial contribution, every bit counts towards reducing hunger and environmental waste. To every partner of ours who has welcomed our Nutrition Talks into their programming, we want to thank you for providing more for your clients. 

Special thanks to our partners Recovery Community Cares, Delancey Street Foundation, Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Jamboree Housing CorporationFontana-Sierra Fountains & Ceres Way, and Steph House Recovery

Information

The Nutrition Talks Program is something that we are very proud of at Food Finders. Part of our mission is to improve nutrition in food insecure communities and this program is one way that we can provide more than just a meal.

For more information on how to become a donor, volunteer, or funder, please visit the following links: 

For volunteer opportunities, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin Burciaga (562) 283-1400 Ext. 112

To become a food donor, contact any member of our Food Acquisitions Team, Mark Eden (Ext. 117) and Tray Turner (Ext. 105) (562) 283-1400

To join our Share Table, please contact our Fund Development Director, Lisa Hoffmaster (562) 283-1400 (Ext. 103)

If you are a Non-profit operating in Southern California and would like to host a Nutritional Talk you must be a registered nonprofit and partner with Food Finders, Inc. For more information please contact Isabel Gallegos, at (562) 283-1400 Ext. 111

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Isabel Gallegos, Partner Agency Manager and has worked in the community to help others gain access to rights and tools to reach their highest potential. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Food Waste

Can Wilting Spinach Be Saved?

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

Is There Any Way to Use Wilted Spinach?

Sometimes the vegetable drawer can turn into a mystery box with groceries and produce forgotten at the bottom. When it comes time to clean it out, coming across a bag of wilted spinach lost at the bottom can be a big source of annoyance; a whole bag of spinach is forgotten and now its only destination seems to be the trash. What a waste!

Wilted spinach doesn’t need to be thrown out and is still safe to eat. The greens can even be used as an appetizing breakfast favorite.

According to The National Capital Poison Center; Lutein and its close relative, zeaxanthin, are pigments called carotenoids that are related to beta-carotene and lycopene. The name lutein comes from the Latin word, lutea, meaning yellow. At normal concentrations in food, it is a yellow pigment but can appear orange or red at high concentrations. Lutein and zeaxanthin are made only by plants, so animals normally get them by eating plants. The highest concentrations are found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, and mustard and turnip greens − although these nutrients are also found in a variety of other vegetables. Lutein added to chicken feed intensifies the yellow color of egg yolks. – 1 cup of spinach contains 20 mg of Lutein.

Scrappy Skillet

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into a delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Let’s Start With This Simple Scraps Recipe

The scrappy skillet recipe can use that wilted spinach very nicely. No spinach wilting on the bottom of the fridge? Turnip greens can be used just like any sturdy greens and they might be sweeter than you’d expect.

Take wither wilted leaf and add it to a breakfast skillet that also makes use of wilting spinach you don’t know what to do with. Turnip greens and sautéed spinach make a delicious nest for baked eggs and feta. Feel free to make it your own too! You can add in any bell peppers or ham you may have, and mix in any other favorite veggies. (Go ahead–clean out that veggie drawer!)

This recipe works just as well for dinner and has such a nice protein boost. Don’t forget the toast! 

Here’s a tip: Baking the single slab of feta results in a texture that’s a little chewy on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. If you can only find crumbled feta, wait to add it until the very end of the baking time or right before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15 ML)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (2g) fresh thyme leaves, removed from stems
  • 1/2 cup (125g) turnip greens, leaves roughly chopped, stems finely chopped (about 1 bunch)
  • 91/2 cups (283g) wilted baby spinach
  • to taste fine salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) feta (block, not crumbled, ideally around 1/2-inch (1cm) thick)
  • 4 eggs

Optional Garnishes

  • splash hot sauce
  • 1 small heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (45g) Kalamata olives

The Step-by-Step from Ikea Scraps Book

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). 

Step 2

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (ideally one that fits in your oven) over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme leaves, cooking until the garlic is fragrant and starting to soften, about 1 minute. 

Step 3

Add the turnip stems and leaves, stirring occasionally until the stems start to soften and greens begin to grow tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach in 2 to 3 batches, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Lightly season to taste with the sea salt. 

Step 4

Make 5 indentations in the greens to create nests for the feta and eggs. Place the feta in 1, and carefully crack an egg into each of the other 4. Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your liking, 5 to 10 minutes. If your skillet is too large for your oven, or isn’t ovenproof, use a smaller skillet, split the ingredients between 2 skillets, or use another ovenproof dish. 

Step 5

To serve, divide the eggs, greens, and feta between 2 plates. If desired, sprinkle with hot sauce and garnish each plate with half of the tomato, cucumber, and olives.

Share any pictures you have of making this or other #WhyWasteFoodWednesday meals!


Who is Food Finders?

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.
Our Food Rescue program ensures millions of pounds of wholesome food helps feed people, not landfills. Operating from a single headquarters in Orange County, California, we serve multiple counties within Southern California. By engaging a huge network of volunteers, we’re able to quickly scale and rescue enough food for 30,000 meals per day.

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Why Waste Food Wed potatoFood Waste

Are Sprouted Potatoes Safe to Eat?

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

What Can We Do With Old Potatoes?

We have all done it. We cannot resist buying that big bag of Idaho potatoes, yams, or delicious sweet potatoes.

It is sometimes cheaper to buy that whole bag of potatoes, so we do it with the best intentions to make delicious and nutritious meals. But then reality kicks in–that bag sits on the counter for weeks sprouting little round ‘eyes’. And sometimes, if it sits long enough, some of them will have a green color. Is this safe to eat?

According to the National Capital Poison Center (poison.org):

Potatoes contain two kinds of glycoalkaloids, both natural toxins, called solanine and chaconine. Exposure to light greatly increases the formation of chlorophyll and glycoalkaloids. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green color of many plants and is not toxic. However, the green of chlorophyll is a marker that can let you know that there could be an excess of glycoalkaloids. The entire potato plant contains glycoalkaloids, but the highest concentration is found in the leaves, flowers, “eyes,” green skin, and sprouts. The lowest concentration is found in the white body of the potato.

Sprouted spuds aren’t necessarily destined for the landfill: the potato itself is likely still safe to eat, so long as you cut away the little growths and green spots. And you can cook it up, and mash it with salt and butter, but what if you made something even more fun?

Homemade Chips

Homemade-chips

Making your own potato or vegetable chips, whether you fry or bake them, is easier than you think. We have found that once you do make your own, it is hard to go back to the oversalted store version!

Here are the advantages: You get to pick which vegetables to use. And you choose the spices and seasonings you want to use for your homemade chips. And: Making your own chips is fun and easy.

Some Tips: Root vegetables are best, such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beets. Not only are they colorful, but they each also have a flavor of their own. Just make sure you remove those little “eyes” and cut off any part of the skin that looks green.

Recipe

Ingredients
1 large carrot, trimmed
1 large parsnip, trimmed
1 sweet potato
1 Yukon Gold potato
1 large beet
Canola oil, for frying

Basic Seasoning Mix:

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

The Step-By-Step from Spruce Eats

There are plenty of recipes out there to make your homemade chips, but Spruce Eats is one of those sites that is always thinking about food waste. Here is this weeks recipe:

Step 1

Get all of your ingredients together first. This makes the whole at-home cooking process much easier. So start by pulling all of those potatoes and questionable veggies. Get your seasoning choices out. Bowls, oil, pans, and peelers too!

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed1

Step 2

Peel off the skin, making sure all those little ‘eyes’ are gone as well as any green tone on the Idaho potato.

Step 3

Now slice them thin. It helps if you have a mandoline, a food processor fitted with the 2 mm slicing blade, but if don’t have one then a sharp knife works just as well when cutting the vegetables into very thin slices (1/16-inch thick).

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed1

Step 4

Fill a large bowl with ice water and transfer the carrot, parsnips, sweet potato, and either Yukon gold or Idaho potato to the ice water. [Note: do not miss this step! soaking any starch produce item in cold water like this makes an absolute difference!]

Now, fill a small bowl with ice water and transfer the beet slices to the smaller bowl of water. Let the vegetables sit in the water for 30 minutes.

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed4

Step 5

Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Drain the vegetables and arrange them in a single layer on the towels. Pat the vegetables to remove any excess water.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed5

Step 6

First, Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Second, line 2 plates with paper towels.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed7

Step 7

Heat three (3) inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F using a deep-frying thermometer. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed8

Step 8

Add about 1/2 cup of vegetable slices to the oil and fry until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed9

Step 9

Remove the vegetables to the paper towels to drain.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed10

Step 10

First, remove the paper towels from the baking sheets and spread the fried vegetable chips in a single layer on the baking sheets. then place in the oven to keep warm.

Repeat with the remaining vegetables in batches, making sure to maintain the oil temperature of 350 F.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed11

Step 11

Put the warm chips in a large bowl, add the seasoning mixture of your choice, and toss lightly.

Our basic seasoning mixture from above: In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Feel free to be creative here and try different spices on different batches.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed12

Enjoy!

Benefits of NOT Wasting Potatoes and Vegetables

In addition to saving the planet we all live on, when households save food through consumption, you personally save money. But more important is gaining the knowledge that one small action (throwing out just one potato with ‘eyes’) has a ripple effect in your own neighborhood.

  • Water is conserved
  • CO2E is contained.
  • Landfills grow smaller.
  • Your family learns an important lesson in community action–because not everyone in your neighborhood has enough nourishing food on their plates tonight.

Remember: Think before you buy food. Plan your meals and use every part that is edible to #StopFoodWaste.

For more benefits of stopping food waste go to the EPA.gov site here.

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Who is Food Finders?

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.
Our Food Rescue program ensures millions of pounds of wholesome food helps feed people, not landfills. Operating from a single headquarters in Orange County, California, we serve multiple counties within Southern California. By engaging a huge network of volunteers, we’re able to quickly scale and rescue enough food for 30,000 meals per day.

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Why Waste Food Wednesday trashFood Waste

How can we all cut food waste?

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

According to Refed

Our food system is radically inefficient. In 2019, the U.S. let a huge 35% of the 229 million tons of food available go unsold or uneaten. We call this surplus food, and while a very small portion of it is donated to those in need and more is recycled, the vast majority becomes food waste, which goes straight to landfills, incineration, or down the drain, or is simply left in the fields to rot. Overall, ReFED estimates that 24% of all food in the U.S. – 54 million tons – goes to these waste destinations.

That’s almost 90 billion meals’ worth of food that we’re letting go unsold or uneaten each year, roughly 2% of U.S. GDP!

Taking Action To Help Cut Food Waste: 3 Quick Steps

Every household in the United States can do small actions to make a big impact on Food Waste.

  1. SHOP SMARTER. Every household buys too much food. 43% of the food that ends up in landfills comes from individuals. And it is food that doesn’t need to be thrown away. SOLUTION: Buy what you need. Think ahead and make lists of the recipes and meals you will prepare–and prepare them! Get on Instagram and start jotting down some of those amazing meal recipes and then buy only what you need for that week. Sure, it’s a hassle to have to go to the store a couple of times a week, but think about all the food destroying our atmosphere!!
  2. STORE YOUR FOOD CORRECTLY. Be curious about your food–knowing which foods can sit on the counter. For instance, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, and onions should never be refrigerated. These items should be kept at room temperature. Other items should NOT be stored together. For example, foods that produce more ethylene gas than those that don’t is another great way to reduce food spoilage. Ethylene promotes ripening in foods and could lead to spoilage. Bananas, Avocados, Tomatoes, Cantaloupes, Peaches, Pears, Green onions –you want to keep potatoes, apples, leafy greens, berries, and peppers away from them to avoid premature spoilage.
  3. DON’T BE JUDGEMENTAL WITH YOUR PRODUCE. This is the most ironic of all the tips (and there are many, many more!) Ugly fruits and vegetables get tossed every day–by you, by your family, even by the grocery stores. But “ugly” doesn’t mean not incredibly delicious and nutritious. A carrot with two tails is just a carrot with two tails–it shouldn’t be scary or avoided. Some Italian cooks swear by the “ugly tomatoes” they find in the markets and some grocery chains are even saving space for those delicious odd-shaped produce items. think out of the box and reach for items that are more likely to be unsold and tossed…I am sure that somewhere in heaven you will get extra points for not being judgmental!! Check out some of our fun recipes for ugly food here.

If each one of us can stop food waste at home–the problem begins to shrink. Here is a great resource from the EPA. Stop Food Waste

The Good News?

Food Waste is a solvable problem

We can stop food waste

Every household can do something to stop food waste. Start with the three simple steps above and be mindful that we are wasting food.

Then, Volunteer your time and efforts to help rescue food. Yes, RESCUE food! It is a real thing. Food Finders goes out every day and picks up thousands of pounds of good food that would normally end up in landfills. Through our network of volunteers, we rescue the food and then deliver it to community partners who service families in our neighborhoods. The benefits of Food Rescue Volunteering include, helping our planet and preserving millions of gallons of water from waste, but did you know that in rescuing food you are also helping to feed millions of people?

Hunger is a problem and food Insecurity is a complex issue (and we are not here to solve that.) What we are working toward is a solution to feeding and nourishing people (families, children, and seniors) who need access to food.

Feeding people is important to our community and to our economy. When people are nourished and fed they feel better, and perform better in school and in their jobs. We all benefit. When Food Finders picks up food from a grocery store or bakery, we give it to local non-profits at no cost, so that they can feed their community. We are feeding all of our communities!

Make time to be a Food Waste Hero

It doesn’t take much to be a hero.

All of us have two to three hours a week to offer a helping hand. That’s one less Netflix movie watched, or several hundred mindless moments gained not swiping through our social media feed. And what if you could do something that changed the earth, impacted people’s lives, and also gave you something really cool to post on your Instagram? Being a Food Rescue Hero has perks!!

Volunteer This Month To Help

If you live in or near Long Beach, California, we have got something really important coming up. The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) is closing for the summer on the 15th & 16th of June. They do a really great job of donating excess food several days a week throughout the school year, but at the year-end, it’s time to empty out the cupboards and refrigerators so that nothing goes to waste.

Food Finders has over 80 Schools in Long Beach that are closing for the summer and we need all hands on deck to collect and deliver the food. Here are the details:

Wednesday, June 15th from 1 PM to 3 PM

Thursday, June 16th from 8 AM to 11 AM

Reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin via email or call him at (562) 283-1400 x 112 if you can help Food Finders to rescue all of this food from over 80 schools in Long Beach!

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Food Recovery Tell All RecordingFood Waste

Food Recovery Tell-All Panel (Recording)

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

In case you missed the live presentation of the Food Recovery Tell All Panel from Food Rescue Hero last week, we have the recording to share with you.

This incredible three-person panel included Food Finders with Diana Lara, Executive Director. What is food recovery? How is this impacting our communities? What are the challenges and insights from three industry experts who are leading the food waste recovery industry.

Food Recovery Panel with Diana Lara of Food Finders

The topic of course was Food Recovery–the process and the challenges of rescuing food. so many great questions and insights. In case you missed the live broadcast of the Food Recovery Tell-All Panel we have the recording below!

Click here: https://youtu.be/ixZQvMHs9H4

Enjoy the panel discussion and please share with those you think would find this information helpful!

If you would like more information about Food Recovery or Food Finder’s work in Southern California, please email dlara@foodfinders.org

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why-waste-food-wednesday-carrotFood Waste

The Mighty Carrot: Don’t Waste It

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

Carrots are a hearty vegetable with so many nutrients that it is impossible not to use every bit! Here are some tips to keep you storing and preparing the best possible way without waste.

Storing Carrots

Remove the tops of carrots if you buy them with the green leaves attached.  Keep them in a plastic bag in the coolest part of your refrigerator for about two weeks.  And a warning: keep carrots away from apples and potatoes—their gasses will make your carrots bitter.

Another interesting storage tip is that you can store carrots in empty, cleaned milk cartons.  Seal it shut and they should last longer.

Recipes Galore

  • Peel your carrots, slice them into rounded coins and toss them into a mixture of butter and honey.  Make sure they are fully coated and then roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350.  Delicious hot or cold.
carrots roasted with honey
  • Shred your carrots and put them in your salads, sprinkle them on top of sandwiches for an added crunchy bite.
  • Mashed carrots can be eaten alone or blended with mashed potatoes.  If that doesn’t sound good, then sautee some onions in butter and throw in the mashed mixture.  Add ginger for a spicy taste.  The onions add a whole new dimension.
  • Shred your carrots and some beets and apples.  Blend the altogether with a little mayo for an amazing salad experience.
  • Blend up your carrots with apples and you have an incredible smoothie to get your day started!

Don’t Waste Carrots

Soup is nothing without carrots so if you have some lying around then add them to any broth you are making.  Their sweetness adds a nutritional dimension to any type of soup.  Plus pureed carrot soup is wonderful!

And of course, if all else fails, slice up the carrots into sticks and snack on them.  Don’t like raw?  Then steam them.  The flavor of steamed carrots is exceptional!

40% of carrots are thrown into the trash—which means all the water that went into growing them is also thrown out.  Try new ways of preparing these nutritious vegetables.  Your body will be happy and so will the earth!

Adding carrots to soup is delicious

If you have any interesting tips for preparing food to avoid waste, send them to us at marketing@foodfinders.org

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going bananas about food wasteFood Waste

Going Bananas Over Food Waste

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

What is the Impact of Uneaten Food?

When food goes uneaten and is thrown away, all the resources that went into preparing that food go to waste as well. Think about water for a moment…without water, we cannot live, and yet, when there is an ugly, over-ripe banana on the counter we can toss it in the trash without a thought.

About 5-gallons of water per day is required for one banana tree.

One banana tree takes about 9-months to produce bananas

Over the 270 days it takes to produce bananas, that tree will use over 1,300 gallons of water.

Americans throw away 5 billion bananas every year!

That means billions of gallons of water are thrown away too!

Let’s Make Eating Bananas Fun & Easy with Banana “Ice Cream”

Sarah, A flavor-loving nutritionist at Live-Eat-Learn posted a great recipe for all those ripe to over-ripe bananas you are considering tossing into a landfill. With just one ingredient and a great how-to recipe, we can show you how to prevent good food from being tossed away.

1-Ingredient Ice Cream. source: live-eat-learn

The Uglier, The Better!

If you are lucky enough to have bananas at home that look like the “over-ripe” picture above–then you are in for a real treat! The darker the banana peel, the sweeter the flavor of ice cream. Plus, that means you don’t need to add any sweeteners to make a delicious dessert.

Recipe

Step 1: Chop your bananas into chunks and lay them in a single layer on a parchment-lined plate or tray. It’s important that you peel the bananas before freezing! Bananas will take about 2 hours to freeze.

Tip: this is a great way to save bananas for later. source: live-eat-learn

Step 2: Let the bananas thaw a bit (just 5 minutes or so), which will make them slightly easier to blend, then throw them into a heavy-duty blender or food processor. Even an electric hand mixer will work.

source: live-eat-learn

Step 3: To get this delicious treat blending more easily, you can do a few things. Either let the bananas thaw a bit so they do not rock solid, or add a splash of milk (any milk will do!) until things start moving. Scrape the sides and push the ice cream down into the blades of the blender or food processor until you get a smooth, soft-serve consistency.

source: live-eat-learn

Step 5: Storage of all food is critical so to store this banana ice cream, cover it in plastic wrap (or transfer it to an airtight container), and freeze. When ready to eat again, let it soften on the counter for a few minutes before scooping.

Storage is important. source: live-eat-learn

Variety Makes This Even More Delicious

Vanilla: Use the base recipe then add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Tropical: Use 3 frozen bananas, ½ cup of frozen mango, and ½ cup of frozen pineapple. Instead of using milk to blend, add a splash of orange or pineapple juice.

Mocha: Use the base recipe then add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of instant coffee, and a handful of chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter: Use the base recipe and then add 2 large tablespoons of peanut butter.

#StopFoodWasteWednesday

Nourishing ourselves is important for a long healthy life but there are many people around us who cannot afford to buy food that will feed their whole family so don’t be wasteful! Buy what you need and store safely what you cannot eat before it goes bad. And share your favorite 1-Ingredient recipes with us and PLEASE SHARE

Food Finders, Inc

To learn more about Food Finder’s food rescue programs please reach out to us by visiting our contact page: https://foodfinders.org/contact-us/

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time for spring cleaning food driveEvents

It’s Time For Spring Cleaning

Let’s Gear Up for “Summer To End Hunger” Food Donation Event

Springtime is the best season to think about cleaning out cabinets and drawers and we want to help you make room for summer with some ideas to feel better and make an impact!

Your Kitchen Cupboards Called to Say: “Help!”

Overstocked with Pandemic shutdown “hoarding,” our cupboards may be filled with too much food. Check the labels and start putting food items in a box that are not going to get used. Donating overstocked non-perishable foods are a wonderful way to organize and make an impact in your community.

Food Drives Help To Feed People With The Most Need

So much of our foods get thrown away when they can be donated and redistributed through organizations like Food Finders. See our Food List below

When You Donate Food To Avoid Food Waste and Help The Environment

Food banks are especially important in the food distribution process.  They work with their local communities to ensure that everyone has access to healthful foods. They solicit, receive, store, and distribute fresh produce (when available) and pantry staples (like the foods we are listing below). 

Food Banks and Pantries help people get connected to other essential benefits and serve as community hubs for volunteers who are serving their local communities.

How To Host A Food Drive

Any business, community center, Library, retailer, or city location can host a food drive.  Food Finders will provide a storage bin, signage, and donation food lists. Food Finders will also arrange to pick up all the collected food items from you! 

Email meden@foodfinders.org or give Mark a call at 562-283-1400 Ext 117.

Food Drive

What Kinds of Food Can You Donate?

1.  Applesauce

Plastic jars of unsweetened applesauce serve as a great quick snack with just enough fiber and vitamin C. Applesauce is also a smart choice because it preserves well on food bank shelves.

2. Canned Beans

Full of protein and fiber, canned beans offer a superb and nourishing way to fill an empty tummy. Try to look for low-sodium variations whenever available.

3. Canned Chicken

While canned chicken may seem like a simple choice, it is high in protein content and can be a perfect item for those on the go. Additionally, its versatility makes it a popular item at food banks. Try adding this non-perishable item into soups, casseroles, sandwiches, or crackers!

4. Canned Meat (SPAM and Ham)

Do you have some extra SPAM or canned ham? If so, make sure to drop it off at your local food donation site. It’s shelf-stable, does not require much preparation or equipment to eat, and provides a quick source of protein that keeps individuals feeling full for longer periods of time.

5. Canned Fish (Tuna and Salmon)

Canned fish has various vitamins, especially omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Many food banks are in need of canned tuna and salmon because it makes for such a convenient and easy meal.

6. Canned Vegetables

Residents in need are continuously requesting lively, nutrient-dense, and fiber-rich vegetables. Make sure to grab low-sodium options. Canned variations also last the longest on a food bank’s shelves. Food banks frequently hand out recipes that utilize the items they have in stock. 

7. Crackers

Are an ideal snack or can be used as a base for canned proteins. They are also shelf-stable and portable, making them perfect for snacks and lunches. Whole-grain crackers are the best bet.

8. Cooking Oils (Olive and Canola)

Food banks heavily depend on these essential and costlier items to be donated. Canola and olive oils are the preeminent choices because of their monounsaturated fats and minor flavor. 

9. Dried Herbs and Spices

It is hard to cook a flavorsome meal without herbs and spices. So, drop a few in your shopping cart to donate! We suggest sticking to the fundamentals: oregano, basil, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and cinnamon.

10. Fruit (Canned or Dried)

Fruit, whether dried, canned or in plastic cups can make superb snacks for young children and adults. Select those that are packaged in water or fruit juice instead of sugary syrups.

11. Nuts

With a handful of nuts, they deliver protein and nutrients instantaneously, which has made them perfect for snacks and lunches. Food banks have a difficult time obtaining them due to their higher price, so they heavily rely on donations. Go for unsalted varieties when possible.

12. Granola Bars

Food banks are continuously in need of fast and easy items that families can throw into lunches or eat on the go. Granola bars are the answer. Try to look for the ones that have fewer grams of sugar, made with oats, or other whole grains.

13. Instant Mashed Potatoes

Instant potatoes last a very long time and require minimal cooking tools and ingredients. They are also a beloved staple item in every age group, making an item that goes quickly off Food Banks’ shelves. 

14. Grocery Meals in a Box

An entire meal that’s shelf-stable and in one package is the best way to nourish a hungry tummy. It is very popular with those who do not have a stocked kitchen or tools needed to prepare a meal. The best options are pasta, rice, and soup kits (particularly those that are lower in sodium and higher in fiber and protein). 

15. Pasta

In Food banks, pasta is a staple item since it can be easily turned into a meal. Opt for whole-grain selections that offer more fiber and nutrition compared to white pasta.

16. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a high source of protein that can be eaten alone or combined with other food items. Since both children and adults like it, peanut butter is easily one of the most desired items at food banks.

17. Rice

This popular item is filling, versatile, easy to prepare, and store. Consider substituting white rice for brown rice instead because it is a healthier option with much more fiber to offer. Quinoa is another great alternative item to donate if feasible.

18. Shelf-stable and Powdered Milk

The best part of this item is that no refrigeration is required to keep it fresh, which makes it available to everyone. More importantly, milk delivers a much-needed source of calcium and protein (especially for a developing child).

19. Whole Grain Cereal

This is another popular item with all age groups. Whole-grain cereal makes for a healthy and quick breakfast or snack. Some selections are low in sugar and high in fiber that helps provide nutrients to good digestive bacteria, which then release substances that help lower levels of inflammation body-wide.

20. Honey

This is a sweet, viscous food substance that can be used as a natural sweetener. It is rich in antioxidants and propolis, which each promote burn and wound healing. It can also be used to help suppress coughing in children. 

21. Soup, Stew, and Chili

These substances act as a warm and satisfying lunch or dinner. You can find these items in canned or packaged form and they are often sold as a complete meal with protein (meat) and veggies. If possible, attempt to find reduced-sodium alternatives.

What to skip when donating to your local food bank:

  • Junk food (chips, cookies, candy) 
  • Packaged items with glass or cellophane (these can be easily broken in transit)
  • Items that require can openers or cooking equipment
    • Instead, try to donate pop-top cans–whether for veggies, meat or fruit

Start Your Own Food Drive with Food Finders Help. Learn More https://foodfinders.org/event/summer-to-end-hunger-food-drive/

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Support Food Finders and Give #MoreThanJustFood

Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.