October 16, 2012
Marta Ruggles, District Manager

Feed the Difference 2012, what a day!!
It is overwhelming to see what the MG team did on October 9th. I could feel the love of LOCAL food, people and serving others from NC to PA!!
My week included FTD x 2.  On Sunday night, I attended a Farm to Table fundraiser for The Haven. The Haven is a day shelter for Homeless men and women in Charlottesville, VA. They provide showers, laundry facilities, computers, etc…as well as breakfast and lunch daily. In addition to donated food, they have a garden they get harvest from year-round.

For dinner, a Chef from a nearby restaurant prepared greens, sweet potatoes and ribs, (produce all from their garden and the C’ville area). It was prepared and served in the same kitchen and dining area that serves the daily clients. Efforts had been made to jazz the space up (since it was a fundraiser) while, at the same time, allowing guests to fully appreciate the mission of The Haven. The combination of preset salads, accompaniments served family style, and high school students serving ribs was just right. As we were welcomed, the Director said “thank you for coming to our house for dinner.  Here we treat everyone with respect, share what we have and waste little.”

A couple of days later, seeing what MG did in our style to recognize local food was inspiring. The “local concept” continues to get lots of attention, as it should. As I thought about these 2 wonderful experiences, it occurred to me that, in general, it would help if there was a lot more focus on waste. No doubt, waste is about money going down the drain…but, more importantly, it’s about good food ending up in the landfill. Waste is about what can be conserved…so all the carbon footprint that goes into getting food to our kitchens is not in vain.

We (MG) do focus on waste – we talk it (give that food an encore!), train it (record leftovers!), and we have weighed the waste in some locations, all of which is good. But, can we do more?
My take away from the Farm to Table meal at the Haven and our FTD: I commit to focusing more on waste…asking and thinking about how we can waste less every day.  It is not just about food cost, it is about appreciating the food that comes into our hands, and realizing that some don’t have that gift every day.