Daily News | Philly was wasting tons of produce. Then a scrappy startup stepped in.
The nonprofit Sharing Excess has redistributed 11 million pounds of surplus food that would have gone to landfills.
Share Food Program , each deliver millions of meals a month, which leaves little bandwidth for catering to individual donors — even those as big as the market.Alexander Neumueller.Updated Sep 27, 2022 When South Philly boxer Maleek Jackson trained Matthew Amira, the actor who plays Rocky in the Walnut Street Theatre’s upcoming production of Rocky, the Musical, he didn’t start by teaching him how to throw a punch., “We know this isn’t about keeping our communities safe — this is political theatrics.
“We have over 600 agency partners on our route, it’s preplanned.That’s thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds of food being distributed,” said Philabundance director of communications Chelsea Short.” CCAF’s study claims that the Bitcoin network produces 48.“If we have a retail donor who’s like, ‘I’ve got 50 pounds or 5,000 pounds of cabbage, can you pick it up now?’ We can’t always do that because our trucks are already en route.Then there’s stance and balance, plus fundamentals of footwork — all before gloves connect.” And so a scrappy, flexible start-up like Sharing Excess was the perfect partner for the market: Not only was the team willing to set up shop in the market full-time, they would also work to convince its long-running vendors to try something new.The metric equates to roughly 0.Winning over vendors Sharing Excess moved into the market in July 2021.” What are the stakes for a city and its residents if the entities that check the power of local police forces can’t properly function? Let’s go from NorCal to SoCal, where, this month, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
“We started out with just some plastic tables and basically a group of college kids sorting through boxes,” Ehlers said.1% lower than the estimated GHG emissions in 2021.Nobody gets hurt.While operations got up and running, Havertine began a regular routine of walking the market and getting to know vendors — an exercise that proved to be crucial.Donating perfectly good but unsellable food rather than throwing it out seems like a no-brainer, but change is hard, and many of the market’s vendors have been there for generations.Neumueller’s research further details that 37.And much like composting at home can be a bit of a hassle, designating some produce as excess and then shuttling it over to another part of the warehouse takes time.For him, boxing became a way to tone his body and mind while spending 10 years in prison from ages 16 to 26.So Sharing Excess needed to win over vendors, which Havertine did through face time.CCAF’s “best-guess estimate” of 0.
It was tough-going at first, but she’s become “buds” with various workers on the market floor.“Now part of their daily routine is bringing food over to us,” she said.Annualized GHG emissions as of September 21, 2022, via the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF).“I started the foundation as an opportunity for kids to use boxing to better understand their troubles, understand their emotional intelligence, understand how to think, and to see what they can become amidst [challenging] circumstances,” Jackson said.But the nonprofit had another hook to bring vendors aboard: It would save everyone money.Each pallet sent to the market’s internal waste management system costs a vendor $80.4 million tons of carbon dioxide gold mining uses per year.Sharing Excess would take that trash off their hands, sort through it, and likely yield them a tax deduction instead.They love the story of overcoming — how you have to get up when you get knocked down.
Soon enough, they had so many pallets coming their way, they needed to move into a breezeway of their own.” CCAF notes that the decline may have been during a shift from less efficient mining rigs to more efficient next-generation machines.Reaping the rewards In a year, Sharing Excess has diverted more than 50% of the market’s waste from the landfill, resulting in about $300,000 in savings, Ehlers estimates.That figure pales in comparison to the partnership’s impact on hunger relief.Between July 2021 and September 2022, they sent 6.1 million pounds of produce to Philly-area food banks.
Around 90% of what vendors give is pristine enough to donate.(Even produce past its prime goes to good use: It’s used for chicken feed instead.) Five days a week, a crew of Sharing Excess staffers and volunteers starts accepting donations at 7 a.m.Forklift operators from various vendors whiz in and out of their delivery bay, dropping off pallets of avocados, bananas, lettuce, cherries, and more.
Sharing Excess inventories what it receives and issues receipts to vendors.They also track the data in their own app — something they hope vendors might implement one day “so they can better realize when they have excess,” Ehlers said.The team assesses the condition of the produce, then they consult with folks at Share and Philabundance, essentially taking the organizations’ daily orders.They’ll prep and palletize those donations for the day, with a shared goal that all the food distributed is consumed within the next 24 to 72 hours.By 11 a.
m., trucks arrive to pick up the donations, followed by cars and vans from smaller food banks and pantries.In return for these services, the Wholesale Produce Market, Philabundance, and Share contribute money to help Sharing Excess cover its expenses.(Sharing Excess has 25 staffers and pays entry-level employees between $17 and $20 an hour.) “We probably pay Sharing Excess upwards of $100,000 a year,” said Share’s executive director George Matysik.
“But … we’re not then having to tie up our [loading] docks with product that’s not good, tie up our refrigerators with product that’s not good, then having to pay on the back end to get that composted.It saves us time.It saves us money.And it helps build a partnership and gives resources to a young, upstart organization that is clearly hungry for this work and clearly wants to make a difference.It’s a win-win.
” Looking ahead The Sharing Excess team sometimes loads up its own truck and drives to its West Philly warehouse.They’ll give the goods away at their free food fests , set up to look just like a farmers markets.The nonprofit would like to destigmatize free food — something Ehlers and his team hope to tackle on a larger scale with time.He envisions a future where its warehouse functions as a sorting operation in the back and a pay-what-you-can grocery store in the front.“All of this produce that you see here can be easily merchandized in ways where people can walk in, get what they like, and go through a seamless checkout process where it feels like you’re in a grocery store, but it’s 100% optional for you to pay,” Ehlers said.
It’s one facet of Sharing Excess’ agenda, which blossomed out of Ehlers’ mission to give away the extra meal swipes he had left on his Drexel account at the end of his junior year.Since then, the nonprofit has developed a high-tech, high-energy approach to food rescue.The partnership at the market is just one example.Sharing Excess’ food-sourcing team has experimented with finding and transporting donations remotely in North Carolina and Texas.It tracks various data points in a free, open-source app Ehlers hopes other food-rescue organizations will use to help onboard more donors.
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