Consumer food waste is largely behavioral but supply chain waste comes down to economics: Food is expensive to move. If it can’t be sold, it doesn’t make sense to preserve or transport it.
That is why wholesalers and distributors throw away thousands of tons of wholesome but blemished produce every day – not just because you and I won’t buy it, but because they can’t find charities to donate to in time. Why not?
The food supply chain is longer and more technologically interconnected than ever before. But most food charities haven’t progressed beyond spreadsheets and e-mail – their technology capacity is limited. Thus, the terrible irony of food companies paying to have nutritious fruits and vegetables hauled away to landfills, while charities just a few miles away pay good money to purchase the same foods.
Food Cowboy helps charities look and act more like supply chain companies. It can help truckers and other donors search for them by location, operating hours, storage capacity and even loading dock type. It can also handle scheduling and communications. Transfers happen efficiently and charitable donation paperwork is streamlined. Right now, the paperwork’s not worth the hassle.
There’s no getting around the fact that we are wasteful – yet we are also caring and innovative. In the past, we lacked both the technology and the understanding to do more than just talk about hunger and waste, but now we have real solutions. So let’s partner up to feed our neighbors and protect the environment.
Roger Gordon, JD, MBA, is an experienced entrepreneur who has been involved in numerous ventures that overlap the public and private sectors. In 2014, Fast Company named him to its list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. He has worked as a management consultant in London and Sydney and is the founder of the company that broke the bank monopoly on operating ATMs in the United Kingdom.
Roger has served on Human Rights Watch’s California Committee North and on the boards of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of San Francisco and the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners. He holds an MBA from Kellogg and a law degree from Georgetown. While in law school, he clerked for future White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes at the Center for American Progress, the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Barbara Cohen, Ph.D., MPH, a public health and nutrition expert, has addressed issues of hunger, food insecurity, nutrition, and the relationship between food and health outcomes, at both national and local levels. She was part of a small group of academic and policy leaders who worked to move the national discussion from one of hunger to food security and developed measures now used on national and international population- based surveys.
Barbara is also the author of the USDA’s Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit. Through this and other work she has trained community leaders in how to use basic evaluation tools to develop innovative programs to improve their local communities. She received her MPH from the School of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill and her Ph.D. from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Richard Gordon, has over 25 years of experience as a trucking entrepreneur instructor-trainer, and terminal manager. He transported fresh produce almost exclusively for 16 years and has been called upon by FEMA to respond to every hurricane disaster since 1992. He spent six months on the Gulf Coast transporting humanitarian and oil field supplies after Hurricane Katrina and both he and Roger responded to Hurricane Sandy. Over the years, they have rescued many tons of fresh produce.
Jodessiah Sumpter, MBA is an experienced enterprise level software developer, technology innovator, published author and serial entrepreneur. He has won numerous awards in software and mobile application development, including from Home Depot, AT&T and SONY. He holds an MBA with a concentration in Information Technology from the University of Buffalo and a post masters degree in Marketing from the University of Dayton.