We started out the evening of December 30th with a tour of the food bank by Caroline McGuire, the volunteer coordinator with Great Plains Food Bank, who gave us the rundown on industry secrets. And by industry secrets I mean the difference between food pantries and food banks, as well as where the food bank falls in the more general food assistance infrastructure.
Food banks are large warehouses where bulk food (and individual donations) get processed, sorted, repackaged and sent to various partner organizations who get the food to individuals and families. Did you know that 1 of 9 people in North Dakota are on food assistance of some kind? And 38% of those people are children.
Great Plains Food Bank can hold up to 900,000 lbs. of food at one time. And as an organization dedicated to sustainability, realizing that 1.3 billion tons of food gets lost or wasted every year in the world, made seeing *just* 900,000 lbs. of food in one place sobering.
We spent our time that evening repackaging ugly (class B) potatoes from a local organic farmer into 5lb bags for distribution. It was a blast. So much fun, in fact, that our youngest volunteer Olivia (pictured below) said she didn't want to leave!
To celebrate the end of Ugly Food of the North's first year, we all headed over to a happy hour at Fargo Brewing Company. It was our first night selling Ugly Food of the North tee shirts... and maybe the beer helped but we sold 12 that night! Thanks so much to everyone who came out to volunteer, who bought shirts, and who collaborated with us to make it all happen (we're looking at you Great Plains Food Bank, Fargo Brewing Company, and First Ave Promo)!
And now let's make 2016 even more sustainable!