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Why we love Food Shift: Aka the saga of excess kale

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Have you ever wondered what happens to produce that we can’t use at Imperfect? Just like you, we worry about wasting produce too, only instead of a few apples or carrots, we’re talking about hundreds of pounds of them. Anytime we order slightly too much of something, or don’t sell quite enough, we have to figure out what to do with it. The good news is that through partnerships with food nonprofits, we’re able to ensure that our excess produce helps feed those in need instead of going to waste. This week we want to tell you about one such organization, Food Shift, through the journey of our excess kale. Let’s take a ride!

Throughout the week at our San Francisco warehouse, produce that’s still good to eat but can’t end up in boxes gets set aside for donation. For example, if we over-ordered kale for the week (a true “Bay Area” problem) and have a few cases left that won’t last over the weekend, we will set them aside for donation so they can help feed people instead of going to waste.

Imagine you’re a bunch of this excess kale. You’re sitting in a cuddle puddle with some of your leafy friends, and then the good folks from Food Shift arrive on Monday to pick you up, along with a few hundred pounds of bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes. Now you’re off to Alameda to get a second life. “Kale yeah!”

1 hour later (traffic affects kale too) you and the other produce arrive at the Food Shift warehouse in Alameda. You are given the royal treatment, carefully checked for quality, sorted, and cleaned before waiting for what comes next. Food Shift has an awesome network of organizations that they work with to make sure that every pound of produce goes as far as possible. You can already sense that you’re bound for great things.

The potatoes are brought over to the Alameda Food Bank next door to help feed those in need. The carrots and bell peppers are washed and chopped in the Food Shift Kitchen, and are expertly seasoned with cajun spices by their chef to end up in prepared meals sold through Josephine. You and the rest of the kale have an extra special role. You’re sorted and brought to the City team program in downtown Oakland, where you’re combined with other fresh produce and become a healthy meal that will help feed 100 people every day. You end up nourishing a family in need, and the process of cooking up all of this goodness ended up providing job training and drug addiction rehabilitation for the community. What could have been written off as a case of wasted kale ended up creating a ripple effect of generosity and care that cascaded across the Bay.

If this sounds like a positive journey to you, you’re not alone, and we invite you to help us support Food Shift in their great work. The great news is that there are so many ways to get involved. You can make a crucial impact by donating your time and volunteering at Food Shift (talk about a great way to build your resume and reserves of warm fuzzies!) If you’re interested in giving financially, that’s an option too. If you just want to stay up to speed on the great work that they’re doing, you can sign up for their monthly newsletter. Either way we want you to know that we love Food Shift and invite you to help us show them some love too!

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