Past Events

The Great Food Makeover:  A No Food Waste Fest – October 2016

blender-bike

Making a smoothie on the blender bike. (Photo by Debra Kaplan)

Presented by Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue and sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America, The Great Food Makeover raised awareness of food waste and hunger in our community. Food is the largest contributor to landfill waste, yet one in five kids go to bed hungry every night. The family-friendly event also included kids’ activities, entertainment and interactive displays.

Saving Grace is a leader in bringing awareness to Omaha about the growing international movement combatting food waste. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), approximately 30 to 40 percent of food is wasted in the United States. Last fall, the USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency announced the first-ever national food waste reduction goal – a 50 percent decrease by 2030.

“Making the huge pots of stew using produce that otherwise would have been wasted shows the impact of rescuing food,” said Beth Ostdiek Smith, president and founder of Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue. Chef Kevin Newlin of the Salvation Army Kroc Center created the stew recipe. Apples seasoned with salt, sugar and oil were roasted and pureed to form the base. Potatoes, squash, peppers, onions and other produce that had been chopped the day before by ProStart culinary arts students from local high schools were added to the stock. The resulting stew – enough to feed 500 — rivaled recipes served in gourmet restaurants.

Julie Cornell, KETV anchor, was emcee for the event. Other participants included the Central High School Jazz Band, Grace & Logan, Omaha Street Percussion, North High Jazz Band and North High Drum Line. Representatives of food donor and food recipient agencies also spoke about Saving Grace’s impact.

View photos of The Great Food Makeover from our Facebook album.

 Feeding the 5000 Omaha – October 2015

Feeding the 5000 event

Feeding the 5000 Omaha. (Photo by Debra S. Kaplan)

Omaha became only the third U.S. city to host a Feeding 5000 event to shine a light on food waste when Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue, along with the London-based organization Feedback, brought the global campaign to Nebraska on October 4, 2015.

Local chefs prepared 190 gallons of a hearty autumn soup that was served free of charge at event. Butternut squash, acorn squash, potatoes, green peppers, beans and other produce gleaned from area farms were seasoned and roasted, then added to a stock that previously simmered for several hours to create the soup that was served free to the public. More than 1,000 bowls of soup were dished up at the event, and the leftovers were taken to the Sienna Francis House to feed the nonprofit’s clients.

Making the huge pots of soup using produce that otherwise would have been wasted shows the impact of rescuing food,” said Beth Ostdiek Smith, president and founder of Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue. More than 5,000 pounds of produce and other products were rescued and used for the soup and grocery area at the event. Volunteers visiting area orchards and fields gleaned 2,400 pounds of apples, 600 pounds of potatoes, 550 pounds of squash and 300 pounds of beans and other produce, and local farms donated additional vegetables.

Feeding the 5000 Omaha called attention to the issue of food waste in the Heartland and in the United States. Food is the largest contributor to landfill waste in Omaha, yet one in five kids in our community may go to bed hungry every night. Americans throw away approximately one-quarter of all food and beverage purchases, which adds up to $1,350 to $2,275 lost per year per household.

The event also included on-stage cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, music, children’s activities, and interactive booths designed to educate children and adults about food waste and inspire them to take action to reduce food waste in their personal lives and in their communities.