Five years ago, Care and Share invited Future Pointe to present a zero waste plan and help develop a zero waste program for the organization. What we discovered in the process – more than 1/4 million pounds of disqualified food per year from Care and Share alone being hauled to the landfill – revealed a widespread and daunting intersection between waste food and hunger relief in this country.
40% of all food grown, processed and transported in America is never consumed – that’s 40 million tons, or 80,000,000,000 lbs. of food lost to landfills every year. That food is equivalent to 1,350 calories per person per day. The USDA estimates that 50 million Americans, including 16 million children, are food insecure and that one in six Americans receive government food assistance.
In partnering with Future Pointe, Care and Share now saves $15,000 per year, worth $80,000 in buying power annually to feed people in Southern Colorado. Future Pointe intercepts and converts the disqualified food – dented, dated, and damaged product – into animal feed for local pig farmers. What’s more, the work of diverting this food from the landfill is a central activity inside Future Pointe’s Learning Lab for Life, a vocational curriculum for people seeking basic work and relationship skill development. Feed production revenue also contributes to Future Pointe’s capacity to employ graduates of its Learning Lab for Life and others who qualify as food insecure.
Care and Share’s September Cooking For a Cause event, hosted by Chef Corey Wilson, will feature pork raised locally by Future Pointe using Care and Share’s discarded food exclusively. This meal is a small symbol of the integration possible when we treat WASTE as OPPORTUNITY. The meal represents how Care and Share’s commitment to zero waste relates directly to its core purpose of bridging the gap between hunger and abundance.