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Table to Table and Matriark Foods Awarded ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund to Innovate Farmplus for People

Matriark Foods and Table to Table have been awarded a $50,000 grant to pilot a processing program that pays farmers, creates jobs, diverts vegetables from landfill, feeds the hungry, and proves out the metrics for nimble processing infrastructure. 

Table to Table and Matriark Foods are excited to announce that they have been awarded a ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund Grant to pilot Farmplus to People, an innovative partnership to upcycle farm surplus into a healthy, added-value vegetable stew for distribution to the hungry in New Jersey.

With the proceeds of the grant, Matriark Foods will purchase surplus vegetables from farmers and aggregators including AeroFarms and Bad Apple Produce, and process a nutritious vegetable stew that will be distributed to the hungry using Table to Table’s established logistics capability and large network of agencies in Bergen, Essex, Passaic and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. Fresh produce will also be sourced from Table to Table’s regular partners and distributed over 90 days. The project will deliver over 500,000 meals and offset over 1,000,000 lbs of Greenhouse Gases.

“The Covid19 pandemic has increased the challenges of accessibility and availability for much-needed fresh food, straining food system logistics of storage and distribution resulting in an increase in food waste at a time when so many are in need,” said Ilene Isaacs, Executive Director of Table to Table. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to partner with such extraordinary organizations who will help us provide an alternative source of nutritious produce. ReFED’s commitment to this project will have a significant impact on our ability to feed our hungry neighbors, while keeping a little less food from ending up in our landfills.”

Rescuing large amounts of farm produce for distribution to the hungry is a challenge due to the perishability of fresh vegetables . Some recipients of food donations, especially the elderly and the homeless, often have limited cooking capabilities and/or competencies. Table to Table and Matriark Foods seek to prove that by reallocating dollars to the direct purchase of surplus farm produce, processing it into nutritious products, and efficiently and directly distributing it to people, farmers can be properly paid, food kept from being wasted, people employed through production, and people fed nutritious, ready-to-eat food.

“The goal of the Table to Table|Matriark Foods public/private partnership pilot is to demonstrate that with the existence of more nimble food processing, massive amounts of food waste could be diverted from landfill while providing jobs, nutritious food for those who need it, and offsetting GHGs at scale,” states Anna Hammond, Founder and CEO of Matriark Foods. “We plan to optimize the use of the ReFED grant to inspire investment in scaling our model for the benefit of people and the environment.”

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Matriark and Table to Table to divert high quality produce at risk of going to waste to those who need it most. In particular, we see enormous value in demonstrating a proof of concept for in-time processing of surplus produce, a development that has the potential to build capacity for a food waste reduction strategy that has remained elusive due to lack of nimble processing infrastructure.” Anya Ranganathan, Co-Founder, Bad Apple Produce

“AeroFarms is proud to partner with Table to Table and Matriark to help provide fresh, nutritious, delicious leafy greens and serve our communities struggling with food insecurity. As a Certified B Corporation, we are committed to helping increase access to fresh, healthy, great tasting food while minimizing food waste, a huge contributor to climate change.” Marc Oshima, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, AeroFarms

“COVID-19 has disrupted the regular flow of the food supply chain, making it difficult to get fresh, healthy food to the people who need it most and increasing the amount of food insecurity,” said Alexandria Coari, Capital and Innovation Director at ReFED, a national nonprofit working to advance solutions to reduce the amount of food waste. “The work of organizations like Table to Table and Matriark Foods is urgent, and we’re excited to get them the critical support they need from the ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund.”

Table to Table is a community-based, not-for-profit, food rescue program that collects fresh and perishable food which would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations that serve hungry people in Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Passaic counties in Northeastern NJ. With a fleet of refrigerated trucks, perishable food is picked up from more than 150 donors (restaurants, supermarkets, food distributors and hospital/corporate cafeterias), and then delivered to 250+ community partners. These partners include soup kitchens, homeless shelters, elder care facilities, day care centers, homes for victims and children of domestic violence, after-school programs and pantries serving the working poor. Food is delivered on the day of donation and is provided free of charge. Without any government assistance, Table to Table raises its own funds every year, and last year delivered enough food for more than 26 million meals. Visit us at www.tabletotable.org.

Matriark Foods, Inc. upcycles farm surplus and fresh-cut remnants into healthy, low sodium vegetable shelf-stable products for schools, hospitals, foodbanks, restaurants, and other foodservice where people are fed on a large scale every day.. Matriark partners with farmers, aggregators, and fresh-cut facilities to interrupt, reimagine, and rebuild the food system through collaboration to advance the health of communities and the environment. www.matriarkfoods.com

ReFED is a nonprofit with a holistic view of the food system, working to advance solutions to reduce food waste. Since its inception in 2015, ReFED has served as a trusted source for data and insights, a connector of stakeholders across the food system, and a catalyst for innovation and economic opportunity. ReFED’s goal is a thriving food system optimized to minimize climate impacts, maximize resource use, and enhance food security — including a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Learn more about the impact of food waste and ReFED’s work at www.refed.com.

About our partners

AeroFarms is on a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. A global, mission-driven company, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corporation and proud to be named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company. AeroFarms’ patented, award winning aeroponic technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking indoor vertical farming to a new level of precision and productivity with minimal environmental impact and virtually zero risk. Through its retail brand Dream Greens, you can enjoy locally grown, pesticide-free produce that bursts with flavor and nutrition, all year round. www.AeroFarms.com

Bad Apple Produce (BAP) is an online grocery delivery service with a mission to reduce food waste and hunger in the NYC metro area. BAP sources excess and off-spec food products from farms, wholesalers, and food producers within 150 miles of New York City, and delivers them to households at up to a 50% discount to retail. During the COVID19 pandemic, BAP has started additional sourcing with foodservice and restaurant purveyors long on inventory, matching food to hunger relief organizations. https://badappleproduce.com/ 

For more information please contact: 

Emily Force at EForce@TabletoTable.org or Anna Hammond at ahammond@matriarkfoods.com

REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES.

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