June 3, 2014 by Caroline Leland
Introduction to City Harvest
I love my job. Love is a strong word — and it’s only the first day — but from what I’ve seen in seven hours of orientation, I love this organization. I love what they do and how they do it, and I love the role I get to play in it.
Founded in 1983, City Harvest is the world’s first food rescue organization — which means they gather leftover food (food that would otherwise be thrown away) in places of surplus and deliver it to places of need. City Harvest acts as the middleman to make extra food from grocery stores, farms, restaurants, hotels, special events and food drives available to low-income communities that have a deficit of nutrient-dense food.
I especially love that City Harvest has a heavy focus on nutrient dense food; they’re not just out to feed people, but to feed people well. More than 60% of the food distributed in the past year was fresh produce. That’s the biggest difference between a food pantry and a food rescue organization: food pantries are limited to nonperishables and therefore cannot provide their beneficiaries with fresh produce.
Not only is the work of City Harvest impressively practical in saving food that would otherwise go to waste and admirably selective in its focus on nutrient dense food, especially fresh produce — the organization’s approach is also on an immense scale and awesomely holistic. In addition to its food rescue work, which will collect 46 million pounds of food in 2014, City Harvest also runs many outreach programs. These range from mobile markets and cooking demonstrations to awareness events for hunger in NYC. The program most pertinent to me is the Cooking Matters At The Store (CMATS) grocery store tour, which is designed to teach small groups of people how to shop for healthy food on a limited budget.
This summer, I will be organizing and leading at least 10 tours in grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods of NYC, along with an intern partner. The next couple of weeks are booked up with training and information sessions, but I’ll start to establish community partners (organizations to help me find tour participants) as early as tomorrow!
Also, the internship coordinator’s obvious enthusiasm and passion for the job makes this already appealing deal even more exciting. I couldn’t be happier about where I am this summer.
|stacks on stacks of supa cool informational handouts|