Hearty Autumn Stew Will Feature Surplus Produce
Local Festival Showcases Ways to Combat Food Waste

Surplus vegetables – such as misshapen potatoes, crooked carrots and squash that are not cosmetically perfect – will find their way into a hearty autumn stew that local chefs will create for “The Great Food Makeover – A No Food Waste Fest” on October 8.

The Great Food Makeover is a public celebration around solutions to food waste, presented by Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue. The local nonprofit 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.

In preparation for The Great Food makeover, Produce from the Heart volunteers will visit area farms to glean vegetables and fruits that would otherwise be plowed into the fields as excess or dumped in the landfill because they are not cosmetically perfect. ProStart culinary arts students from local high schools will help chop the produce. Event head chef Kevin Newlin of The Salvation Army Kroc Center and other local chefs will then season and roast the vegetables before adding them to a hearty stock that incorporates other harvest items.  Bowls of the autumn stew will be served at the event.

The family-friendly event also includes cooking demonstrations by local chefs, music, children’s activities, and interactive displays designed to educate visitors about food waste and inspire them to take action at home and in the community.

The Great Food Makeover takes place from noon to 4 p.m. at Turner Park in Midtown Crossing. A VIP brunch from 11 a.m. to noon includes a fun chef challenge.

“Food waste and hunger are real issues globally and in our community,” said Beth Ostdiek Smith, president and founder of Saving Grace. Food is the largest contributor to landfill waste in Omaha, yet one in five children goes to bed hungry each night. “It just makes sense for us as a community to feed hungry bellies rather than landfills, and that’s one of the messages The Great Food Makeover promotes.”

Funds raised from the event will support Saving Grace’s perishable food pipeline that connects excess meat, produce, dairy and grain products from grocery stores, restaurants, caterers and other food purveyors with local nonprofit agencies that feed the hungry in our community.  Since operations began in October 2013, Saving Grace has rescued and delivered more than one million pounds of perishable food, which translates into one million healthy meals served to the less fortunate.

Tickets to The Great Food Makeover are $12 in advance or $15 at the door; children five and under are free.  The VIP Brunch is $50 and includes admission to the afternoon event. Visit www.savinggracefoodrescue.org for more information on the event, including ticket information.

 About Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue

Saving Grace picks up excess perishable food from area restaurants, caterers, cafeterias, grocery stores, delis and food distributors, and this food that would otherwise go to waste is delivered the same day, free of charge, to local nonprofit agencies serving families in need.  The second part of Saving Grace’s mission is raising awareness and educating the community about food waste and hunger.

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