Past Events

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste’

Thanks to our partners Film Streams and No More Empty Pots for helping present “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” at the Dundee Theater on February 21. The event was sold out, and attendees were able to see how some of the world’s most influential chefs make the most of every kind of food, transforming what most people consider scraps into incredible dishes that create a more secure food system. They also learned how rescued food is being used to feed hungry bellies rather than landfills.

Special thanks to our panelists:

  • Beth Ostdiek Smith, founder and CEO of Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue
  • Nancy Williams, co-founder and president/CEO of No More Empty Pots
  • Clayton Chapman, chef and owner of The Grey Plume
  • Colin Duggan, chef and co-owner of the Kitchen Table restaurants
  • Brian O’Malley, chef instructor at the Metropolitan Community College Institute of Culinary Arts, moderator

Watch for photos to be posted later.

Food for Thought

Attendees sample rescued food.

Food for Thought is a series of experiences featuring samples of rescued foods transformed by local chefs, along with thought-provoking messages on food waste and our environment. Each event is hosted in a unique location by a Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue partner.

The first Food for Thought event was July 22 at Eat Fit Go’s Millard location. Attendees sampled Eat Fit Go cuisine that was being given a second life through Saving Grace’s perishable food rescue program. Erik Bird, Eat Fit Go’s chief attitude officer, provided

Erik Bird

insights on how eating healthy and donating excess foods helps keep the environment healthy.


“I want you to understand this is really, really good food. You would not be able to tell the difference,” Bird said of the rescued food that attended samples and that is routinely provided to Saving Grace.

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


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.  Check out the news coverage of the event.

 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.