Posted onOctober 23, 2018
Words byNicola McCormack
Photographed byRiya Shah
Produced and directed byYouMe Lin
Finding a solution to food insecurity is a cause that runs deep for Robert Lee, co-founder and CEO of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a non-profit committed to addressing the disparity between hunger and food waste. As a child of Korean immigrant parents who sometimes struggled to feed their family after they moved to the United States, he understands what it’s like to be hungry in a country that celebrates abundance.
The figures say it all, 40% of the food we produce in this country goes to waste, yet 1 in 7 Americans are food insecure. The RLC’s solution is to identify communities that need help, as well as the nearby restaurants, hotels, and catering companies with excess food. A web application then allows members of the public to sign up as volunteers to transport the food from one to the other. RLC has also developed technology so food providers can report excess, which allows volunteers in the community to pick it up and get it to people in need. The data relating to food waste is analyzed by RLC so it can advise providers on how to produce food more efficiently for environmental reasons. Food waste in landfill emits methane gasses that contribute to climate change.
It was inspiring to meet Robert in person at the ZACHARY PRELL studio to hear more about RLC and introduce him to our collection. We talked about how he got started, leaving the finance sector to launch a non-profit, and the freedom of taking a risk.
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