Wheatsville Co-op repurposes food for those in need

When we walk into a grocery store, the first thing that greets us is the produce.

But what happens when a head of cabbage or an orange doesn't make the cut?

Raquel Dadomo with Wheatsville Co-op says, often times, people pass up items that just don't look appetizing. "Sometimes the leaves get crunched because we are packing it in, or sometimes you have something that has a blemish on it and is no longer sellable."

Those items get pulled from the shelf to give you better shopping options.     

"A lot can be done with the foods instead of throwing them away," said Raquel Dadomo, the brand manager of Wheatsville Co-op. Wheatsville repurposes about two tons of food each month.  

The first step is to try to use it within the store, such as getting the deli to use it in meals and sandwiches. "There are a lot of different hands that touch the fresh produce and make sure that it has a second life," explains Raquel Dadomo

Option two though is one that affects those who need it most.

Allen schroeder coordinates the food donations for "Break It Down," a composting and recycling company that also works to repurpose food. Allen spends hours every week picking up donations and delivering them to those in need at community centers. 

 "There's usually a line of people waiting by 8 in the morning and they let the people in and shop it and it's usually gone within the hour," said Allen Schroeder. 

Allen does not get paid to do this but the people who have come to rely on this food keep him going. "It helps them with their food budget, it helps them with their health because this is very nutritious food," said Allen. 

"It is just not fair for there to be people in city who are hungry and eating low quality food when there is an abundance of food in the city being discarded," said Allen. "I'm trying to remedy that." 

Allen tells us some 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted and he is just doing his part to keep our resources from going to the landfill and Austin families fed.  

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