Hi there! I’m Kelsey, and I am Phood’s Food Recovery Specialist.
Let me tell you how I got involved with Phood, and the role I play with the company. While earning my bachelor’s degree in graphic design at Roger Williams University, I discovered my passion for fighting food waste. I began a chapter of Food Recovery Network at my school and sought out every opportunity to learn about our damaged food system and food insecurity. In doing so, I met the team at Phood, and the rest is history. Now, I work with the team to plan, design, and develop our software to better assist our clients in the food donation process through tracking and automation.
Food Recovery Network is a national non-profit founded by a group of students at the University of Maryland College Park in 2011. The organization is a network of students from American colleges and universities who recover wholesome and nutritious food from dining halls and restaurants and deliver it to shelters and soup kitchens in their community. Over 230 chapters operate out of colleges and universities throughout the country, and continue to grow at an impressive rate.
Last weekend, some of the Phood team attended the 2nd annual National Food Recovery Dialogue (NFRD), hosted by the University of the District of Columbia. The NFRD plays a large role in connecting sustainability-driven students with policymakers and organizations whose work impacts the food waste industry. After reflecting on the incredible stories, conversation, and innovation that surrounded me over the course of the weekend, I thought I would share with you some of the key moments that provoked an intense feeling of motivation; one that I think everyone can benefit from.
1. “Food waste, to me, is the most tangible evidence of a broken food system.”
Dr. Jessica Felix Romero, Director of Communications for Farmworker Justice, spoke on the stories shared by the female farmworkers she works with. One of the farmers she works with described food waste as a waste of labor, and exhibits disrespect towards the working conditions of farmhands and the sacrifices many people make to produce food in America and around the world.
2. “Kids want to help. They want responsibility. The kids do all the work!”
Tony Hillery, founder of Harlem Grown, speaking on Harlem school children’s eagerness to help in the community garden. Children are far more capable than many of us give them credit for. They are the future of sustainability, and the solution to food waste will be the product of their curiosity. As Tony cited, “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
3. “There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, it’s just in the wrong place.”
Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for Sodexo North America, Ted Monk, spoke on his career trajectory that landed him in a position to make a difference in the food waste and food insecurity realm. His advice for anyone struggling to find the right career for them is to find a mentor. Ultimately, they will support you during challenging times and guide you to a sustainable future.
The Phood team met some incredible people this past weekend, and we can’t thank Food Recovery Network enough for inviting us to speak. We were thrilled to be able to share our technology and vision with like-minded people, and we are eager to implement some of the fantastic feedback the students provided us during our breakout session! We are inspired by the hard work the Food Recovery chapters put in to fix this systemic problem.