By Caroline Steiblin, Graduate Student in Mathematics and TFF Community Member
Thought For Food’s New York City community celebrated the summer with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a USA-based food rescue non-profit. TFF Ambassador Laura, Shen (from the TFF Team), Henry (Founder and Managing Director at Agritecture), Alex (Brand Partnerships & Communications at ATTN:), and I (TFF global family member) mingled for the Summer Bash on a sunny evening in Williamsburg Such an event highlights the importance of networking and community-building at TFF, and expanding our local communities around the world.
RLC’s Summer Bash took place at the VICE headquarters, a refurbished industrial building with high ceilings and a glorious rooftop garden, with groups of pretty people sipping cocktails and braving the blazing summer heat. Other than fulfilling every stereotype about Brooklyn, this event was honoring a cause everyone at TFF can get behind – food security.
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC), a food rescue organization, is based in NYC, with a presence in seven other states in the US. Robert Lee, RLC’s Co-founder, started the nonprofit to improve food security and reduce food waste. Even with 10,000 volunteers nationally, tackling these issues is no easy task. RLC found a way to address two food production problems simultaneously – collecting quality food before it is wasted, and donating this excess food to nonprofits in food insecure communities. Two tough birds, one delicious stone. And RLC has found serious success – already one million rescued meals in 2019!
TFF was not the only organization represented at the Summer Bash – KIND Snacks (those yummy whole nut & grain bars) was honored for their commitment to RLC, Harmless Harvest Coconut Water provided refreshments, Skurnik Wines and the Brooklyn Brewery donated the (alcoholic) libations, Summer Ops mixed custom cocktails, and PRINT restaurant contributed with rescued food. Wow, that was a long list. You might be wondering though, how TFF fits in.
In line with our global strategy, TFF is focusing on developing local connections, on a global scale. With our Core Team, TFF Regional Coordinator network, and 400 TFF Ambassadors, we are equipped to create a community and partnerships that are impactful on a local, regional and global level. Having our Ambassadors reach out into their networks, engage with potential partners, and recruit teams to join the 2019 TFF Challenge are paramount to building communities of changemakers. Our NYC Ambassador Laura, for example, connected us with RLC – with her, we came into contact with locally relevant organizations following our common goal to create more inclusive and sustainable food systems in all parts of the world.
So what’s the benefit for these stakeholders to engage with TFF? Our community encompasses over 15,000 next-gens from more than 160 countries who are engaging in all parts of the food cycle. We have a comprehensive knowledge base and are ready to share it. This resource is especially helpful for a growing non-profit like RLC. An issue that they might be facing has probably already been solved by a team in our network, and they might provide insight that helps solve a current issue somewhere in our community. We have found that this exchange of know-how and best practices is valuable for startups as it is efficient and effective. Young entrepreneurs, particularly in the social or impact investing space, have fewer resources on which they can rely, as the “purpose-over-profit” mission contradicts much of the advice given to traditional startups. TFF has been involved with entrepreneurs in the innovation-driven food and ag space for eight years, even before trends like edible insects or reducing food waste were mainstream in Europe and North America. And much like fine wine, experience is priceless.
But enough about us. TFF is very grateful to our community, and even more than that, we operate to benefit the entrepreneurs in our network. Our community is the heart and soul of everything we do. We thank RLC for having us at their Summer Bash, and look forward to helping turn leftover food into a valuable resource for well-balanced and sustainable food systems.