December 13, 2019
Blog Post

Dining with Our Neighbors

Every year billions of pounds of perfectly good food are thrown away in landfills, while over 45 million Americans are food insecure. It’s a crisis that’s impacting humanity and the environment in a big way. This December, we teamed up with Volunteers of America, Colorado Branch to bring awareness to hunger in the Denver community and food waste.  

Where does all this food come from? There are a number of places where, what we call, ‘lost food’ originates. The first is from local ranchers, farmers, and producers who have excess food due to the difficulties of reaching commercial kitchens. Another reason is oversupply. This means product that was overproduced, over-order, or in less demand. Lastly, out-of-spec food tends to end up in landfills because it didn’t meet a specific cosmetic, packaging, or dating requirement. By transforming the food system we can make sure that all food is put to good use.  

Nearly 1 in 11 Coloradans are food insecure. The Volunteers of America (VOA), Colorado Branch runs more than 50 distinct human service programs throughout the state. Their ministry supports and empowers the most vulnerable groups in our communities. Their clients in the Denver area rely of The Mission for meals three times a day (Monday – Thursday).  

In an effort to raise awareness about hunger in the Denver community and the food waste crisis, FoodMaven worked with the VOA to serve a special meal to their clients. Critically acclaimed Chef Tim Ma, and FoodMaven Advisor, curated a delicious meal to inspire conversation and dignity. Many of the ingredients on the menu were unique because they were products that would have otherwise been wasted due to oversupply. Chef Rich Anderson, Associate Division Director and Head Chef at VOA Colorado, took Chef Tim Ma’s recipes and prepared three hot meals for their clients to enjoy.  

This event even more special with printed menus for each guest and a jazz musician for entertainment. FoodMaven employees, including CEO Ben Deda, served Chef Tim Ma and Chef Rich Anderson’s meal to each of The Mission’s clients for a truly unique experience.  

It was an afternoon filled with good food and better company. The event started with a room full of strangers and ended with a room filled with neighbors.  

What can you do to help? If you’re a farmer, supplier, or producer who out-of-spec or overproduced food, connect with us to help reduce food waste while making a profit. If you’re a chef or buyer in the Denver or Colorado Springs area and want to make an impact with your ingredients, let’s chat. Want to support those food insecure in Colorado? Visit VOA’s website to learn how you can get involved or donate. 

View the recipes curated by Chef Tim Ma:

Taiwanese Fried Chicken

Braised Pork Shank Stew

Striped Bass Tacos