In this week’s episode of NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with Ashley Stanley, founder and executive director of Lovin’ Spoonfuls, which is the largest food rescue agency in New England.
We spoke with Stanley about the founding and growth of her organization, overcoming challenges in food waste and more.
Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:
Waste360: Please tell us about Lovin’ Spoonfuls, your story and your mission.
Ashley Stanley: We are a 10-year-old food rescue organization. In that time, we have recovered more than 15 million pounds of fresh healthy food that would have otherwise wound up in a landfill and have been able to upcycle it into the social service stream. We’re feeding more than 30,000 people each week. So, we’re a logistics-based company working in the nonprofit space, but we really approach this work as a method of food diversion and even waste management.
Waste360: How are you using technology, and is it helping you scale?
Ashley Stanley: The evolution of our organization has come a long way in the past decade—and now we have a pretty sophisticated suite of technology. From inventory management and route management to fundraising and donation tracking (which includes weighing, measuring and classifying everything that’s being given to us), we really try to keep technology at the forefront.
Waste360: How are you addressing the idea of food safety?
Ashley Stanley: One thing we don’t do is take volunteers on a day-to-day basis at the heart of our work because much of the food we work with is perishable and temperature controlled. All of our food rescue coordinators are full-time employees who are certified and well-versed in food safety and compliance standards. This is nothing against volunteers, who are incredibly important in our community, but when it comes to food, when you’re talking about the health of people, you have to make sure you’re talking about the health of food. And there are tight controls you have to maintain.