Loving Spoonful’s Protein Project
“A Win-Win for All”
Stretching the weekly grocery budget for one’s own family is a challenge, but just imagine trying to provide 50-100 individuals and families with nutritious food on a daily basis, week in and week out. As the price of meat has steadily increased, local shelters, meal programs and food banks have struggled to include healthy meat protein to their clients. A December 2016 CFKA Community Grant enabled Loving Spoonful to launch an imaginative pilot project to address this growing problem in our community.
The project began with a breakfast meeting for a group of local stakeholders including farmers, suppliers, key government representatives and social service agencies. That breakfast became the catalyst for a pilot project to make meat protein available to local shelters, hot meal programs and food banks at roughly half the cost in regular grocery stores.
Local suppliers, Wallace Beef, Quinn’s Meats and Pig & Olive Premium Meats, offered to sell locally-farmed beef, pork and chicken at reduced prices to member agencies as well as deliver weekly orders to those agencies. Mike Porter, a local software developer, designed Carrot Top, a user-friendly ordering app with weekly prices and inventory on offer which has enabled Loving Spoonful to assume ongoing coordination of the program beyond the pilot project phase.
Loving Spoonful uses Carrot Top to inform participating agencies of weekly inventory and prices, agencies submit their weekly orders to Loving Spoonful which notifies farmers and suppliers. Delivery occurs that same week. Over a period of 24 weeks, 7 participating agencies purchased meat for a total price of $5,195, representing an estimated savings of $5,446 (as much as 51% off grocery store prices).
Carrot Top’s use has now expanded to help distribute thousands of pounds of veggie inventory donated by farmers to Loving Spoonful’s cold storage as part of their Grow a Row program. When available, agencies can order veggies for free delivery by volunteer drivers.
Agencies are delighted with this affordable enhancement to their food programs, suppliers are thrilled to be able to give back to the community and farmers are happy to have another avenue for selling surplus products. One food bank client reported back, “This is the best ground beef I have ever tasted!”
Lilith Wyatt, Project Coordinator, comments, “We are hearing from agencies that this program is completely transformative. It is simple and innovative. Loving Spoonful is thrilled to have been able to connect all the dots to make it work.”
If you would like to learn more, you can contact Lilith at Loving Spoonful (by telephone: 613-507-8848 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pictured above – Left to right: Gayle Barr (CFKA Grant Committee Chair), Lilith Wyatt (Loving Spoonful), Alan Chater (Pig & Olive), Brian Quinn (Quinn’s Meats), Tina Bailey (CFKA Executive Director); not pictured: Bruce Wallace (Wallace Beef)
(photo credit: Viara Mileva)