Category Archives: FlashFood and Food Recovery News

Kaleidoscope Juice Joins FlashFood

IMG_2877We are pleased to announce that Kaleidoscope Juice of Scottsdale, Arizona, is now working with us to donate their extra food to a local community center! Their donation of healthy inventory, including hand-made juices, salads, and energy bars, is highly appreciated by many members of our community.

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Work for a food service or retail business in the Phoenix Metro Area and want to donate your extra food inventory? Want to volunteer to help move donated food to community centers? Feel free to email us at info@flashfoodrecovery.com!

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NCIIA Workshop

Last weekend, four of us had the privilege of attending the National Collegiate Inventors Association E-Team workshop in Boston. At the workshop, we listened to several successful entrepreneurs share their start-up wisdom, and took part in several exercises designed to help us refine our value proposition, identify solutions to challenges we face, and create a winning go-to-market strategy.

Perhaps the most valuable part of our weekend was the strategy mapping exercise facilitated by James Barlow. We knew going into the workshop that we had a tremendous amount of work to do in order to become an international food recovery network. Sometimes, like many businesses, we would feel bogged down by the many inter-connected challenges that prevent us from growing our organization and accomplishing our goals. Through strategy mapping, we were forced to list every problem that gets in our way, as well as potential solutions, using sticky notes on a giant canvas.

Next, we drew lines connecting each problem and solution. Oftentimes, problems were connected to other problems, which in turn had multiple solutions, but then certain solutions may cause other problems. Things got complicated! However, once we had everything out on our canvas, we could easily organize problems and solutions into particular categories, including resources, people, activities, and products. Categorization was an important step, as it forced us to get extremely specific when figuring out what we need to accomplish moving forward.

Thanks NCIIA for an awesome weekend!

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FlashFood Meets Maynard Webb

Maynard Webb Visit

On Monday, Mary Hannah and I had the amazing experience of meeting Maynard Webb, former COO of eBay and current Yahoo! and Salesforce.com board member, through the ASU Edson program. After attending his guest lecture, we met with Mr. Webb for a small group discussion with other Edson companies to share our experiences in starting companies, and to ask for guidance on how to surmount challenges we face. Reflecting on his own experiences, he offered valuable advice addressing the issues and frustrations we face in our businesses and individual career paths. It was an experience we will never forget!

We  highly recommend his new book, Rebooting Work. The theme of his book that resonated the most with us was that anyone can become “CEOs of their own destinies” and have a successful career. Mr. Webb offers practical, actionable solutions  for anyone who feels unsatisfied in their current job to help them start the career they have always wanted. You can listen to Mr. Webb discussing his book in this Tech Crunch interview.

-Jake

FlashFood Pitches to CEO of World’s Largest NGO

Yesterday, I had the amazing opportunity to tell the story of FlashFood to Susan Davis, the Founder and CEO of Brac USA. Brac is the world’s largest nongovernmental organization, employing 100,000 and reaching over 126 million people with its services. The organization focuses on empowering disadvantaged communities around the world by offering services in microfinance, agriculture and food security, women’s rights and advocacy, social enterprise support, and many others. After the pitch,  I was also lucky receive some valuable feedback from Susan about how we can continue to improve FlashFood and expand more rapidly to other communities outside of Phoenix.

It was also great to get updates on fellow ASU Edson students’ companies who also pitched at the event, including G3Box, Vantage Realized, Pollentech, and SunSelect. It’s always an awesome experience when so many smart and talented people meet to share ideas and give advice!

-Jake

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FlashFood Nominated for Inc. Magazine’s Coolest College Startup!

We could not be more excited to be nominated for Inc. Magazine’s Coolest College Startup!

This competition features twelve other student-owned startups from American Universities. The company that earns the most votes by May 1 will be crowned the coolest.

To vote for FlashFood, all you have to do is click the Facebook “Like” button on our Inc. profile page. You can only vote once, so we would appreciate it if you shared this with your friends!

Thank you for your continued support!

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FlashFood’s First Food Recovery!

Yesterday afternoon we took a major step in our goal to change the way the world treats leftover food; we made our first food recovery! Using the FlashFood mobile application, we were notified of extra food from a donating business, which we delivered near downtown Phoenix. We are excited to build on this success and develop more partnerships with businesses and community centers.

Do you want to be a part or our innovative approach to reducing waste and feeding the hungry? Let us know! We are always looking for new partners. Email info@flashfoodrecovery.com or leave a comment.

Katelyn and Shayla packaging food to take to Wesley Community Center

Katelyn and Shayla packaging food

Some of the food recovered from Rio Salado College
Some of the food recovered. Fun fact: the box the food was transported in is so strong, you can run it over with a car and it won’t break!

Steven, Katelyn and Shayla transporting food

Steven, Katelyn and Shayla transporting food

En route to Wesley! Pretty nifty car topper, eh?

En route with donated food! Pretty nifty car topper, eh?

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Arizona State University Knight Foundation mobile app event

Last Thursday we had the privilege of participating in the Arizona State University Knight Foundation Mobile App event at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix. The goal of the event was to celebrate the massive impact smartphones have had on the way society communicates and shares information. The highlight of the event was a showcase of ASU student-developed mobile applications.  We had a lot of fun demonstrating the FlashFood Mobile Applilcation for the event’s attendees and learning about several awesome projects that other ASU students are working on.

FlashFood Mobile Application

Katelyn in action demonstrating the FlashFood app!

Another cool ASU student-owned software company, Mercury Innovative, demonstrates their "Text In Motion" application, an interactive children's book for active learning.

Another cool ASU student-owned software company, Mercury Innovative, demonstrates their “Text In Motion” application, an interactive children’s book designed to facilitate active learning. This isn’t your dad’s picture book! Check it out on the Windows 8 App Store.

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Environmental Protection Agency “Food Recovery Challenge”

In the past couple of weeks, we have seen dozens of food service businesses and retailers join the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Food Recovery Challenge”. The objective of this EPA initiative is to encourage food businesses to find more sustainable ways to treat their extra food rather than throwing it in the trash. According to the EPA, in 2010 35 million tons of food went uneaten, and 97 percent of this amount went to rot in our landfills. Discarded food is the highest waste category by volume in American landfills, filling 21% of total landfill space. Businesses around the United States are increasingly making better decisions about how to handle their extra food, thanks in part to this EPA initiative. While this is a positive trend overall, we’ve noticed that many businesses are focusing mostly, or solely, on composting, rather than donating extra food to local food pantries or charities.

On the EPA’s “Food Recovery Challenge” webpage, the following “Food Recovery Hierarchy” is featured:

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While composting is a waste-reduction strategy, it is second last on the Food Recovery Hierarchy, while feeding people is the second best food recovery scenario.

We acknowledge that a great deal of extra food is not suitable for donations, and we certainly do not want to criticize businesses for composting or utilizing any other of the strategies on this hierarchy. Rather, we want to encourage businesses to take their positive change to the next level and explore the option of donating their surplus food. There are a lot of great organizations across America that specialize in recovering perishable food.

Food Donation Connection is an international organization working with over 13,000 restaurants in the USA and Canada. Contact them to learn how you can get involved!

If your business is located in the Phoenix Metro Area, you can also contact FlashFood to join our first network of food donors, or just to ask us questions about food recovery. We look forward to hearing from you!

Keep up the good work everyone!

TEN WAYS TO FIGHT HUNGER (seven through ten)

For Arizona State University’s participation in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (go Devils!), ASU asked us to create a list of our ten favorite ways to fight hunger. This post covers options seven through ten. What are some of your favorite ways to fight hunger? Let us know by leaving a comment!

7. Support restaurants that donate their leftover food. Next time you go out to eat, think about supporting a restaurant that donates its extra food to those in need. Food Donation Connection (FDC) is an international organization that recovers leftover food from thousands of restaurants across the United States, including Arizona. Visit their website to see a list of their restaurant partners. FDC also works closely with WasteNOT, a Phoenix-based food recovery organization. You can also visit their website to see a list of donors in the Valley of of Sun.

8. Give a hunger-fighting gift. Not sure what to get for a loved one for a holiday or birthday gift? Consider buying them an animal from  Heifer International or World Vision. Don’t worry; a farm animal won’t be delivered to your house! Instead, you buy an animal in their name, and these organizations use the money you pay to purchase livestock for people living in the developing countries. Buying an animal through these organizations provides food as well as a source of income for a family in need. For example, if you buy someone a cow, they have a source of milk for their own consumption as well as to sell at the local market, providing a boost their local economy.

9. Remember to give year round. Food banks typically receive most of their donations in November and December. When February comes around, many food banks may already be running low on food. Next time you are shopping for groceries and notice a big sale on nonperishable food, think about buying a little extra than you normally would to share with your local food bank.

10. Get your kids involved. To continue to help feed the hungry, it is important that we teach the value of giving to our future generations. Encourage your child to organize a food drive with their classroom, sports team, or any other organization they are involved with.

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Ten Ways to Fight Hunger (four through six)

For Arizona State University’s participation in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (go Devils!), ASU asked us to create a list of our ten favorite ways to fight hunger. If you missed our list, don’t worry-we will post our entire top ten on the FlashFood blog! This post covers options four through six. What are some of your favorite ways to fight hunger? Let us know by leaving a comment!

4. Volunteer at a local food bank. There is always help needed at your local food banks in sorting, packaging, distributing, and serving donated food. Volunteering can be a rewarding experience, especially when shared with friends and family. Try organizing a company volunteering day for a valuable team building experience!

5. Use your talents. Food banks and other types of food charities often rely on volunteers to help with their office operations. For example, if you are an experienced accountant, volunteering to crunch numbers for a couple hours per week for a local food bank could be extremely helpful. Contact your local food bank or charity to learn about volunteer opportunities!

6. Spread Hunger Awareness. Keep an eye out for promotional campaigns led by hunger-fighting organizations and help them spread the word about their mission. For example, September is National Hunger Awareness Month. To educate the public on hunger in the US during this time, Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks, encourages everyone to get involved daily in simple ways, such as sharing hunger facts on Twitter and Facebook, or by wearing orange on September 6. These easy ways to get involved with campaigns such as Hunger Action Month can help inspire others to take action.

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