Food Shift is turning the problem of wasted food into a solution that creates jobs and helps feed the hungry.
With a pilot grant of $3,000, Food Shift joins the roster of organizations supported by the Strive for Change Foundation. Food Shift was founded in 2012 to address the issues of food waste, and to feed the hungry by creating a more sustainable food system.
In 2016 Food Shift launched The Food Shift Kitchen, an on-the-job training program in the Alameda Point Collaborative, a housing community for 500 formerly homeless individuals. The Food Shift Kitchen provides culinary workforce training and employment to jobless adults, and good food to people in need.
Using fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be discarded by distributors due to imperfection, the Food Shift Kitchen creates nutritious food products that can be sold to local food businesses and provided at low cost to food-insecure communities. The Food Shift Kitchen also provides catering to local businesses, which allows them to subsidize products at low costs for agencies that serve food insecure populations, and pay fair wages to trainees.
Kitchen trainees receive job readiness support, nutrition coaching, and training in culinary skills over the course of a six-month program. 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 workforce.
In addition to reducing wasted food and feeding the community, the Kitchen has become a unique haven, cultivating resilience for people of all skills and abilities whose lives have been challenging.
Da’jah lives with her mother, Debra, at the Alameda Point Collective. After a period of unstable housing, they have both settled into the APC community and blossomed through the job training programs. Da’jah was encouraged to join The Food Shift Kitchen program after her mother, a program graduate, started introducing “weird” new recipes at home, integrating new vegetables and cooking styles the family had never used before. In a matter of weeks Da’jah has transformed from a shy, recent high school grad to a confident, young woman with ambition for the future–Da’jah is excited to find a job in a kitchen where she can put her new passion and skills to use.
The Strive for Change Foundation is proud to support organizations like The Food Shift that support job-training programs for low-income workers facing barriers to employment, and offer new hope to people who deserve more opportunities.