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Microgrants Available for NYC Businesses Looking to Reduce Food Waste

Selected businesses can receive up to $2,000 to develop and implement innovative food waste solutions.

The Foundation for New York’s Strongest—the official nonprofit partner of the City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY)—announced its second Microgrant Program to help small businesses reduce food waste. Selected businesses can receive an award of up to $2,000, plus technical support from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, to develop and implement innovative food waste solutions.

The announcement was made at the foundation’s Food Waste Fair, which featured more than 1,000 attendees, 75 exhibitors, 30 expert speakers and nine hands-on workshops all focused on helping food-related businesses prevent, recycle and recover the more than 650,000 tons of food waste that New York City businesses throw away each year.

“The Microgrant Program harnesses the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of NYC small businesses and empowers them to be thought leaders in tackling one of our city’s largest environmental challenges," said Julie Raskin, executive director of the Foundation for New York’s Strongest, in a statement. “This is a great example of how business and government can work together to make New York City a healthier, cleaner and greener place to live and work.”

New York City businesses throw away more than 650,000 tons of food waste annually, which decomposes in landfills and produces more than 3.3 billion tons of methane every year. The Microgrant Program aims to help businesses develop creative solutions to prevent, recycle or recover food, which can serve as best practices for the larger NYC business community.

“I’m pleased to see the Foundation for New York’s Strongest continuing to help small businesses make the investment in reducing food waste with the Microgrant Program,” said Steven Costas, acting commissioner for DSNY, in a statement. Reducing food waste is not only good for the environment, but it makes good financial sense, too. I’m looking forward to seeing what NYC small businesses can do with the microgrants.”

This is the second time the foundation will provide microgrants to city businesses. Winners from the 2018 Microgrant Program included sustainable catering company Ox Verte, which developed a storage system and donation program to give excess food to New Yorkers in need, and yogurt brand White Moustache, which created a mobile vending unit to sell ice pops made from leftover whey, a byproduct of the yogurt.

“White Moustache is a handmade yogurt company that also makes products out of whey from the yogurt-making process—an example of how businesses can not only reduce food waste but make such efforts profitable,” said Homa Dashtaki, founder of White Moustache, in a statement. “The Microgrant Program helped our business implement a creative outlet to get our product to market.”

“As a plant-forward catering company, Ox Verte strives to nourish people and communities. Part of that mission includes reducing food waste. The Microgrant Program provides funding toward projects that help NYC businesses, like ours, achieve that goal,” said Jessie Gould, CEO and founder of Ox Verte, LLC, in a statement.

Applications are due July 15. Eligible businesses must be located within the five boroughs, have 25 or fewer employees and net less than $500,000 per year. Winners will be announced at the end of August. 

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