Food Shift

Catering with a Conscience

Your next catered meal could have surprising ripple effects. Food Shift has expanded its campaign against food waste by branching out into catering, offering tasty meals that provide local jobs while keeping food out of
the landfill.

Food Shift collects surplus fruits and veggies from Imperfect Produce and the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market and distributes 75{94d79dd6af1e87a94e700e4c297236468333f22e27ed5757b44711974a9a4b91} of this rescued food to its nonprofit partners, the Alameda County Community Food Bank and Cityteam. The rest goes to the Food Shift kitchen, where staff turn it into hearty salads and vegetable-based entrees for the catering program.

Why is there a food surplus? Food Shift founder and director Dana Frasz says that although some of the donated items may be misshapen or bruised, much of it is surplus only because of over-ordering or an abundance on the market.

Where do the jobs come in? The Food Shift kitchen is located at the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), a former naval base that provides housing and case management for previously houseless adults and children. Food Shift offers a six-month culinary training and employment program for APC residents, who often face employment barriers such as addiction, past incarceration, or disability.

What’s on the menu? “This is part of the excitement and challenge that our chef and team have,” says Frasz, referring to the constantly changing foods available to them. “We look in our van that’s recovered all this food and ask: What are the possibilities here?” For a recent event, staff whipped up Mini Tostadas with Black Beans, Almond Crema, & Pickled Red Onions; Polenta Squares with Tomato Jam & Goat Cheese; and Crostini with Butternut Squash Purée & Toasted Almonds. Food Shift welcomes one-off catered events, with discounts available for nonprofits and organizations seeking ongoing meal contracts. ♦

—Rachel Trachten