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NEW TECHNOLOGY HELPS NEIGHBORS FEED NEIGHBORS

May 8, 2020

The food recovery systems addressing food access hurdles in the pandemic
By Lindsey Danis

Photo by Caroline Attwood


Food and beverage companies are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Grocery stores, which can’t keep staples like flour or eggs on the shelves, are a rare bright spot. Restaurants have closed or offer takeout/delivery only. Farmers and food suppliers no longer have markets for their wares. Businesses have done what they can to pare costs, but many have stockpiled ingredients they can’t use or sell.

That doesn’t mean that food has to go to waste. Restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and other food and beverage companies that have surplus goods, can donate through food recovery apps that make donating surplus food as simple as a few clicks.

After volunteering with a food recovery system that used phone calls to pair donors with agencies in need, and observing frequent delays of 30 minutes or more as dispatchers called around to shelters to assess need. Software developer Tod Hing recognizes that the antiquated system was challenging and time-consuming for all parties.

So Hing created ChowMatch, a web-based and mobile application that uses proprietary matching algorithms to send food donated by restaurants, caterers, farms, grocery stores, and food businesses to local shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries, after volunteering.

Software like ChowMatch reduces delays in getting food to those in need; donors can request a pickup with a few clicks and volunteer food runners are notified of the need. Volunteers then transport food to donor agencies for seamless delivery.

Through FeedHV, a Hudson Valley food rescue network that uses ChowMatch software, Hudson, NY-based Hudson Valley Fish Farm, Inc, which farms steelhead trout for markets throughout the northeast, was able to donate 312 pounds of fresh whole fish to a local homeless shelter. Volunteers drove the donated food, and protected themselves from coronavirus using hand sanitizer produced by Hudson distillery Cooper’s Daughter, one of several area distilleries that pivoted to address a marketplace shortage of hand sanitizer.

Photo by Nguyen Linh

Hudson Valley Fish Farm, Inc. President John Ng said, “Storage or value-adding wasn’t an appealing option, as we’re trying to reduce work to fight the spread of COVID-19. Add that to the fact that the immense loss of jobs meant so many more people are looking for support. While we are all self-isolating, we don’t want to forget that each of us is still a member of a community. Supporting our community has never been more important. ”

Providing for the community is equally important to Karianna Haasch, CEO and Lead baker at Kingston, NY’s Local Artisan Bakery. Haasch makes a habit of donating bakery leftovers at least once a month. “Everyone deserves proper nourishment, and it breaks my heart that we live in an age when hunger is a very real threat,” Haash says.

Donating leftover food is the easiest way to help address the need.
Witnessing the Covid-19 crisis unfold in upstate communities, Haasch says, “It hit me how many people are without the means to feed their families. We had to act and donate as much as we possibly could.”

While Local Artisan Bakery remains open for takeout or delivery six days a week, Haasch used FeedHV to donate 10 dozen baked goods, 10 pounds of potatoes, and 5 gallons of frozen berries to a Kingston-based food pantry that’s delivering meals to families in need as part of an emergency response to food insecurity under Covid-19. “I would typically wait until the end of the season to donate frozen food, once fresh local fruits become available again. Given the circumstances, it felt critical to donate now,” Haasch said.

While helping those in need is its own reward, donors play a role in reducing carbon emissions by diverting food that would otherwise be wasted from landfills. Globally, food waste has a carbon footprint of 3.3 tons, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports.

Furthermore, as Hing notes, businesses can write off donations on their taxes.

To learn more about food recovery and find solutions near you, visit https://www.foodrecoverynetwork.org.

If your business has surplus food as a result of closures and event cancellations, you can still create a positive impact for the community by donating that food to a local nonprofit organization in need. We’ve created a Food Recovery Guide which outlines four simple steps that businesses can take to donate surplus food to a local hunger-fighting nonprofit organization. Read the guide and take action to donate your surplus food to those in need.

To donate to Food Recovery Network visit www.foodrecoverynetwork.org/donate or contact development@foodrecoverynetwork.org.

Photo by Denisse Leon

Features

TEND BAR ACROSS THE POND

August 30, 2011

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade in your film debut for the Auchentoshan London/NYC Switch

Photo by Peter Devlin courtesy of Auchentoshan Distillery - Glasgow, Scotland

You know they drive funny over there, do they bartend on the wrong side too? If you’re one of the lucky (and talented) UK and US bartenders who win the AUCHENTOSHAN Switch you’ll find out first hand.

The big switch is a once in a lifetime opportunity for UK bartenders to bartend in the US, all expenses paid, while their US counterpart heads to London to see how bartenders get put to the test there every night. Auchentoshan® Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, the only triple-distilled Scottish single malt, has launched a bartender talent search like no other to find two outstanding barkeeps in the US and the UK ready to switch places and switch countries for two weeks.

It doesn’t matter if you prefer the high road or the low road; the road to get there will be exactly the same in each country – first, contestants must enter a video of themselves making a homemade lemonade and an Old Fashioned cocktail with Auchentoshan Three Wood. 20 semi-finalists will travel to Las Vegas (and to London in the UK) to enter the showdown hosted by the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) where the top bartender will be named.

Auchentoshan has partnered with two of the most outstanding bars in each country to act as the host venues for the final two bartenders in New York and London. The Auchentoshan Switch is open to all licensed bartenders in the US and UK (see terms & conditions for complete information).
Bartenders can enter their videos up until August 31, 2011 at http://www.auchentoshan.com/switch. The Las Vegas and London showdown will take place in October 2011 and the actual switch will take place in early 2012.

VIDEO ENTRY. Entering the Auchentoshan Switch requires a video and two drinks, specifically a lemonade and an Old Fashioned made with Auchentoshan Three Wood, a liquid of unique complexity that has rested in three different types of casks – first in American Bourbon then to Spanish Oloroso Sherry and finally in Pedro Ximenez Sherry – before being bottled, giving it a unique complexity. Bartenders who wish to enter must film themselves (no need for Oscar level movies here, a smartphone will do) making these two drinks (ps, the lemonade will show their knowledge of Continue Reading…