In honor of Hunger Action Month, we wanted to highlight one of our donation partners: Kitchens for Good, a San Diego organization working to decrease food waste, feed hungry people, and help individuals break the cycle of poverty. We sat down with Lindsey Seegers, their Food Programs Manager to learn more about their awesome work.
Imperfect Produce: Tell us about your mission
Lindsey Seegers: Kitchens for Good is a social enterprise 501(c)3 using kitchens to nourish and transform lives. We believe all food has power, and all people have potential. Our culinary apprenticeship program equips individuals to break the cycle of poverty, and launch meaningful careers in the culinary industry. Our students ‒ transitioning from incarceration, homelessness and foster care ‒ hone their culinary skills while upcycling rescued food into scratch-made meals for hungry San Diegans. Kitchens for Good ensures its sustainability through a catering and food service enterprise that offers on-the-job training for all students, and generates revenue to reinvest in programs.
IP: How did you get started?
LS: In summer 2015, KFG launched operations at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in Southeast San Diego. In addition to tackling issues of food waste, hunger, and unemployment, KFG operates an event and catering enterprise that creates on-the-job training opportunities for culinary students and profits to reinvest into programs. In just a few short years, KFG has become one of San Diego’s most innovative and successful examples of an organization focused on developing a new solution to hunger and poverty.
IP: Can you describe the impact you’ve achieved so far?
LS: Since September 2015, Kitchens for Good has trained 327 individuals for jobs in the culinary industry; achieved an 85% employment rate for culinary graduates at jobs with an average starting wage of $13.25 per hour; and rescued 137,304 pounds of surplus food and upcycled it into 276,267 nutritious meals for the homeless, at-risk youth and seniors. We have a strong social enterprise catering operation, and for the second consecutive year, were selected as San Diego Magazine’s 2019 Readers’ Pick for Best Caterer.
IP: How has Imperfect supported your work?
LS: Since April 2019, Imperfect donated 8,671 lbs of produce for Project Nourish. Together, Kitchens for Good culinary students and community volunteers glean, chop, and upcycle this perfectly edible food for wholesome meals. Project Nourish distributes prepared, scratch-made meals throughout San Diego in partnership with local food assistance organizations to serve people without access to affordable, nutritious food, including children, seniors, and the homeless. This program gives our students, who may have encountered hunger themselves, a daily opportunity to give back through their culinary training.
IP: How can people get involved?
LS: Please join us for WASTED, KFG’s annual cooking competition! We challenge 35 local and national celebrity chefs and mixologists to prepare dishes and cocktails using food that might otherwise be thrown away in their kitchen. The event aims to bring sustainability to the consciousness of both chefs, mixologists, and consumers, and create a call-to-action around rethinking food waste. Guests will enjoy unlimited craft cocktails, food, auctions, and live musical entertainment, and all proceeds will support Kitchens for Good.
To learn more about Kitchens for Good, including how to support them through donations, volunteering, or hiring them to cater your next event, please check out their website!