The Strive for Change Foundation is proud to award a second grant to the Food Shift Kitchen, an on-the-job training program in the Alameda Point Collective, a housing community for 500 formerly homeless individuals.
Launched in 2016, the program provides culinary workforce training and employment to jobless adults, many of them formerly homeless, suffering from addiction, or recently released from incarceration.
Kitchen trainees receive job readiness support, nutrition coaching, and training in culinary skills. All graduates are ServeSafe certified at the conclusion of the program, but they gain much more beyond this certification, including life skills, knowledge about how their diet affects their bodies and the environment, and the confidence to re-enter the job market.
In addition, the Food Shift Kitchen addresses the pressing social and environmental issue of wasted food. Despite growing awareness of food insecurity within the community, nearly 40% of all food is still wasted, tying up over 20% of drinkable water, and contributing to over 20% of landfill which then creates methane, 28 times more harmful than CO2. Using fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be discarded by distributors due to imperfection, Food Shift Kitchen creates nutritious food products that can be sold to local food businesses and provided at low cost to food-insecure communities.
Food Shift Partner Aleta Pierce serves as Farm2Market manager at the Alameda Point Collaborative farm. She has been instrumental in growing and delivering farm fresh produce and Food Shift’s recovered produce to over thirty families at the Alameda Point Collective since the pandemic began. Before Covid, she instructed the Food Shift Kitchen apprentices, helping them connect their lessons on seasonal cooking in the kitchen to harvesting vegetables and fruits from the land.
The future of the food recovery movement has inspired new and forward thinking from Food Shift’s executive director, Yuka Nagashima. In 2022, a new California law will put the responsibility on food selling businesses to dispose of their own wasted food. Ms. Nagashima sees an opportunity to train workers in the skills required to pick up, transport, and deliver large tonnages of rescued food to organizations such as food banks, who provide it to people in need. She believes that these jobs, as “Recovery Officers”, will prove to be much higher paying than kitchen cooking jobs.
Robert Mills, Food Shift Food Recovery Specialist, unloads produce that would have gone to waste, to be sorted for redistribution to partner organizations focused on nourishing our neighbors striving to overcome food insecurity. Providing a safe and stable food supply chain for these organizations has been crucial in their efforts to scale up their operations due to COVID.obert Mills, Food Shift Food Recovery Specialist, unloads produce that would have gone to waste, to be sorted for redistribution to partner organizations focused on nourishing our neighbors striving to overcome food insecurity. Providing a safe and stable food supply chain for these organizations has been crucial in their efforts to scale up their operations due to COVID.
The Strive for Change Foundation appreciates the chance to support organizations like the Food Shift Kitchen that anticipate trends and seek new opportunities.
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