PORTLAND, ME – May 12, 2020 – As part of its commitment to local food producers across the U.S., Forager, whose online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, has been awarded a grant from the ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund. The grant will fund the building of the first national program to help local food producers partner with organizations and food hubs to sell surplus products that might otherwise become waste.
While national attention has been brought to large scale food production waste and supply chain problems, with images of plowed-under vegetables and milk poured down drains shocking many at a time when food insecurity is at a high point, many do not realize this same tragedy is set to play out at the local level across the country. Food producers who have lost restaurant and grocery contracts, as well as other customers, are struggling to move the food they are producing and catching - and expect this to continue in the coming months.
In response to receiving notice of the award, Forager CEO Joe Blunda commented: “We have seen that technology adoption is vital to building a more resilient food supply chain. The first step in that process is making sure local farmers, fishers, and producers have multiple options to move their crop profitably this season in the face of so much uncertainty. This grant provides us with vital resources to expand surplus food recovery programs to local producers in the coming weeks. We are excited to partner with ReFED and appreciate their support.”
David Laskarzewski, Co-Director at UpRoot Colorado, the first gleaner organization to join the program, shared his hopes for the benefits to local food producers: “Farmers are a cornerstone of our food system, but too often the hard work of growing protective foods is taken for granted. Farming needs to become a financially stable vocation and, hopefully, this pilot leads to the development of new marketplaces for family farmers (and ranchers) to sell their life-giving products.”
ReFED has launched the ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund to get critical financial support to organizations working to get otherwise wasted food to the people who need it most during the COVID-19 crisis.
“COVID-19 has disrupted the regular flow of the food supply chain, making it difficult to get fresh, healthy food to the people who need it most and increasing the amount of food insecurity,” said Alexandria Coari, Capital and Innovation
Director at ReFED, a national nonprofit working to advance solutions to reduce the amount of food waste. “The work of organizations like Forager is urgent, and we’re excited to get them the critical support they need from the ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund.”
For more information about the Forager digital procurement platform and how to help grow the local food economy, please visit goforager.com.
ReFED is a nonprofit with a holistic view of the food system, working to advance solutions to reduce food waste. Since its inception in 2015, ReFED has served as a trusted source for data and insights, a connector of stakeholders across the food system, and a catalyst for innovation and economic opportunity. ReFED's goal is a thriving food system optimized to minimize climate impacts, maximize resource use, and enhance food security — including a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Learn more about the impact of food waste and ReFED’s work at www.refed.com.
About Forager™ (Forager1, Inc.)
The mission of Forager is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally sourced food more widely available to all. The company’s online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and costs for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers, and other buyers and sellers of local food. For more information about Forager, please see goforager.com.