Food Rescue: A Three Way Partnership
Boston Public Market Association
Farmers markets act as bridges between rural agriculture and urban centers. First thing in the morning, farmers rise to harvest produce, bakeries turn out fresh loaves of bread and prepared food is packaged. The vendors bring their goods to public urban spaces like Dewey Square across from South Station so that urbanites can access fresh and healthy food.
At the end of the day after the market has ended, our vendors then have the option to donate food to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a local food rescue organization that directly delivers to community organizations. This cycle provides fresh food to the people who need it most and reduces the amount of food that goes to waste. Many of our vendors at the Dewey Square Farmers Market are eager to donate their food and see it repurposed throughout the city.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy contributes to our efforts by growing vegetables and herbs in their edible gardens along the lawn at Dewey Square. During harvest season, their gardeners pass along the bounty to us and we put it along with the rest of our farm donations.
Pain D’Avignon is one of the many vendors that helped contribute to the 160 pounds of food that was donated to Rosie’s Place on Tuesday, June 30th. That means 42 pounds of produce and 118 pounds of bread were rescued and donated in just one day!
“We’ve been to Rosie’s Place and seen first hand the population that is able to benefit from the donations,” says Priscilla Mariani, Market Coordinator at Pain D’Avignon. “I’m honored to be able to make that type of contribution to these Boston women.”
Along with one of the market’s interns, I was lucky enough to shadow Spencer Meibos, driver for Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ and tag along to Rosie’s Place, their dropoff site on Tuesdays. Once the food is brought in and stored at Rosie’s, the women are able to shop along the shelves of the pantry and take home the things they will need to prepare food for their families. One of Rosie’s many goals is to make the women feel like they’re at home in the grocery store.
Hannah Martin is the seasonal Market Manager for the Boston Public Market’s two seasonal Farmers Markets, Dewey Square and The Greenway. She recently graduated from the University of Vermont with a dual degree in Dietetics and Nutrition Food Science and a minor in Community and International Development.
At Lovin’ Spoonfuls, we are bridging the gap between abundance and need. As a food rescue organization, we connect food that might otherwise be wasted with communities in need. We work with more than 100 partners throughout Greater Boston to collect unsold, excess, close-dated, and blemished products, including the Dewey Square Farmers Market. Each Tuesday and Thursday for over 5 years, our trucks have met the farmers and purveyors as the market winds down to provide them with a place to unload their unsold product. Red Fire Farm, Kimball Fruit Farm, Heavens Harvest, Pain D’Avignon, and various farm partners provide us with incredible product that we then directly distribute to Rosie’s Place, Community Servings & many others. The farm-fresh produce is an incredible resource for these agencies, as they work them into their pantry and meal programs, respectively. In 2014, we rescued nearly 16,000 pounds of food from Dewey Square alone!
To date, Lovin’ Spoonfuls has distributed more than 2.6 MILLION pounds of food to more than 65 social assistance agencies throughout Greater Boston. Each week, we collect and deliver more than 25,000 pounds of food, feeding more than 10,000 people. The food we rescue promotes healthy eating habits for those who do not have ready access, and offers a triple-bottom line benefit to people, the planet and the businesses that participate. In 2014 Lovin’ Spoonfuls launched Plenty, a continuing series of nutrition and education workshops. To see the full scope of our work and learn more about our model, visit our website.
Lauren Palumbo is Chief Operating Officer of Boston-based Lovin’ Spoonfuls. Lovin’ Spoonfuls, founded in 2010, is dedicated to facilitating the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded.
For most of us, fresh vegetables and fruit are what make the meal. For the women who come to Rosie’s Place (a Boston community center providing shelter, meals, and a wide range of support services) and rely on canned goods donated by food banks and food drives, a basket of fresh produce is a special treat. To help meet that need, we have relationships with a number of community-based groups, including Lovin’ Spoonfuls and the Boston Public Market through the Dewey Square Farmers Market, to donate produce to Rosie’s Place so we can provide a variety of healthy food options to our guests.
The produce from the Dewey Square Farmer’s Market arrives at Rosie’s Place every Tuesday via Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a food rescue organization offering their time to pick up shipments and deliver them.
The financial impact of all our food donations is substantial, says Rosie’s Place staffer Katie Amoro, who oversees the Rosie’s Place farm initiative. “These donations reduce our food spending by about $30,000 a year, and that makes a huge a difference,” she notes.
“It’s not just farms, but also organizations throughout the community that are helping us,” Amoro adds. “There’s a whole movement right now around growing food everywhere and we are so grateful when they want to donate their produce to an organization such as Rosie’s Place.”
The focus on fresh, healthy food has inspired Rosie’s Place’s guests to start their own garden, where they can learn and advocate for their own nutrition.
“Being part of the garden has been positive for me because I am surrounded by women who know how to work with the plants-and with them I am learning a lot,” says Francisca, a member of the Rosie’s Place Garden Committee. “And I also want to eat more vegetables and organic food because it keeps me healthier.”
Michele Chausse has been the Director of Communications for Rosie’s Place since 2013.