Following the steps of the Food Bank of South Jersey, L.A. Kitchen and other food banks around the U.S., Philabundance is expanding its revenue stream and reducing food waste at the same time.
One in 5 Philadelphians experiences food insecurity. At the same time, 40 percent of food is wasted in the U.S. annually. Philabundance has been redistributing rescued food to Philadelphians in need for over 30 years and in that time has become the hunger relief agency in the Delaware Valley.
The nonprofit recently launched a new social enterprise supporting its mission: Abundantly Good, a self-funding, “upcycled” food brand that uses surplus food items to create fresh ones while supporting local farmers. Sales from the products go toward rescuing more food to be distributed to Philabundance clients for free.
Its first product, cheese, has been on the market at Di Bruno Bros. for the past year as a pilot. Philabundance purchases milk from one Lancaster farm and hires another to make the cheese, which is then sold at market rate. The proceeds from that cheese — $9,000 to date — go toward the making of cheese to be donated to hungry Philadelphians with surplus milk from the same Lancaster farm.
It’s a complicated cycle. But it helps Philabundance meet a triple-bottom line: people (its clients and the farmers), planet (making use of food that would otherwise go to waste) and profit (for the farmers, and Philabundance’s own sustainability).
“This new brand is Abundantly Good for our community on so many levels,” said Glenn Bergman, executive director of Philabundance, in a statement. “It helps farmers by providing increased revenue, it helps cut down on harmful greenhouse gases created when food goes into landfills and the proceeds of sales help our clients access free, healthy, local food.”
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The cheese products can be found at Di Bruno Bros. (five retail locations and online); Riverwards Produce (retail location and wholesale); The Common Market (wholesale); and Third Wheel Cheese Company (local restaurants).
This month, Abundantly Good will launch its next product, spiced tomato jam, made with TBJ Gourmet. Proceeds of the jam will support the creation of free tomato products for Philabundance’s clients.
Abundantly Good was inspired by a similar pilot by Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Chester County Food Bank and others that rescued 12 tanker loads of surplus milk and made 66,000 pounds of cheese to be distributed for free at food banks across Pennsylvania.
Development of the Abundantly Good brand was supported by $140,000 grant from The Claneil Foundation over the past two years. The grant also supported Philabundance’s hiring of a deputy director of sustainability and other programs.-30-
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