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ReFED Launches Nonprofit Accelerator to Double U.S. Food Donations

Food donations
Open call for applications begins for the three-month accelerator, which will offer $350,000 in prizes and access to ReFED’s network of experts.

Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data (ReFED) just announced an open call for applications to its Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator. Supported by the Walmart Foundation and in partnership with +Acumen, the accelerator aims to catalyze ideas and inspire actions that will lead to a doubling of healthy food available to the 40 million Americans facing food insecurity. Eligible innovators are invited to apply by July 10.

“One of the great failures of our food system is that up to 40 percent of food is wasted from farm to fork, while 40 million Americans are food insecure,” said Chris Cochran, executive director of ReFED, in a statement. “The food recovery sector is currently capturing less than 5 percent of the 36 million tons of food lost in the value chain, yet there are cost-effective, scalable solutions available today to more than double meals recovered and delivered to our food insecure neighbors. To get there, we need systems-level change. ReFED is at the forefront of generating insights and advancing solutions for an efficient and equitable food system, and we’re excited to accelerate the knowledge, network and capital of nonprofit food recovery organizations around the U.S.”

The Walmart Foundation funds the food recovery space with an eye toward fighting both food waste and hunger. +Acumen brings extensive expertise to the nonprofit accelerator space and will power the virtual curriculum.

“Partnering with ReFED offers a unique opportunity to bring the experience we’ve built working with nonprofits to develop earned revenue ventures to their work in the food recovery sector. We’re excited to help amplify the impact of food recovery nonprofits, which play a critical role in preventing food insecurity and tackling issues of poverty in the U.S.,” said Jo-Ann Tan, director of +Acumen, in a statement.

Ten nonprofit food recovery organizations will be selected to participate in the accelerator and each will be provided $25,000 and a stipend to cover travel expenses, plus an additional $100,000 awarded to the selected winner(s). The accelerator’s curriculum will combine a virtual classroom with in-person ReFED Learning Labs that focus on leveraging earned revenue models, technology solutions and human-centered design. Innovators will receive the tools, training and mentorship necessary to drive measurable impact, gain access to a broad network of industry experts and connect with potential strategic partners and sources of capital.

Additionally, ReFED has assembled a group of food business and technology executives, capital providers and subject matter experts who will serve as the Accelerator’s Advisory Committee and Expert Network. This group includes individuals from Aramark, Baldor Specialty Foods, Blue Apron, Chick-fil-A, ClimateWorks Foundation, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), Closed Loop Partners, DoorDash, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, FoodMaven, General Mills Foundation, GoodR, The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, Sodexo, Spoiler Alert, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Village Capital, World Wildlife Fund and many other organizations.

The three-month accelerator will kick off in September. 

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