Food Cowboy Tackles Food Waste

Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


Food waste in America is rampant and not only that, it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing because while there is clearly plenty to eat in America, many of our citizens are going hungry.

We’re better than that. And that’s just wrong.

But a group called Food Cowboy is trying their damnedest to make things right. Their tag line communicates their mission unambiguously: Nothing Goes to Waste. If they fulfill that inherent promise we’ll all be better off.

This helps to understand how Food Cowboy is attacking the problem. Read this from their website:

Reducing food waste is an important goal that has critical implications for America’s health, economy and environment therefore it is essential that the public and private sectors work together closely to achieve it.

Technology can and must offer solutions to waste at all levels of the food system as well as ways to improve health outcomes for our most vulnerable citizens. At its heart, food waste is a complex information and logistics problem. Nevertheless, we have seen technology used to solve similar problems in other arenas.

Food waste is also a human problem. Technology can offer solutions here as well because, although wasting food is a habit, technology is also a “habit”. Consumers have embraced it and incorporated it into every part of their lives, including how they find, choose, prepare and discuss their food. If we can find the right applications, we can begin to use technology to displace our habit of waste and replace it with a culture of sustainability.

There’s no getting around the fact that we are a wasteful nation.

Food Cowboy is harnessing the technology of the food chain to identify where good, edible food may soon be dumped into a landfill instead of feeding hungry people. Here’s a good example from their site:

The warehouse manager just told you not to take the tomatoes off the truck–too ripe, he says. So you post them on, saying you’re heading for Abilene tomorrow at 7AM. When you wake up, you’ve got messages from three food pantries along the way offering to take the tomatoes off your hands.

That’s an example of how a food company can donate perfectly good food. Food charities can register and be a part of the Food Cowboy network and begin to accept deliveries of much needed food for the already depleted food pantries. Event hosts, by entering a few numbers on their phones, can have uneaten food picked up from their events by an Uber SUV.

This is a tremendous move forward. Not only in reducing food waste, but getting that food, in a timely fashion, to where it is most needed. That seems to be the key here. And Food Cowboy deserves a measure of credit for leaping some big logistic hurdles. How ’bout them Cowboys!

Here’s one more quote from Food Cowboy:

There’s no getting around the fact that we are a wasteful nation–yet we are also caring and innovative. In the past, we lacked both the technology and the understanding to do more than talk about hunger and waste, but now we have both. So let’s partner up to help our neighbors. That’s the cowboy way.

Have you thought about how much food we all waste in this country?

Photo credit: Craig McCord