The Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Sustainability, Elise Golan, has asked Food Cowboy to help identify innovative new solutions to food waste by forming a national Technology Innovation Council.
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The warehouse manager just told you not to take the tomatoes off the truck – too ripe, he says. So you post them on FoodCowboy.com, 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.
You’re a food bank manager, it’s past midnight, and you can’t sleep. The holidays are over and donations have dried up but you still have families to feed. Then you get a text message asking whether you can open your warehouse early to accept two tons of ripe tomatoes. You smile and type “OK” thinking of the kids you will feed.
The wedding went off without a hitch and everyone had a good time – only one thing left to do: You give the caterer the nod. She does a quick inventory, enters a few numbers on her phone, and presses “Ready for Pick Up.” A few minutes later, an Uber SUV quietly rolls up to take the unserved food to a local soup kitchen.
Food Cowboy was launched in 2012 by a small team of experts who believed that smartphone technology could be used to reduce hunger and waste. Truckers can use Food Cowboy to route wholesome but unmarketable fresh produce to charities and spoiled food to composters and farmers instead of landfills. Local rescue groups can use Food Cowboy to schedule pick-ups from local restaurants and deliveries to soup kitchens. That way nothing goes to waste. That’s the cowboy way.