NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Food insecurity—it’s a real thing. One in eight people in Nashville doesn’t have enough food.
However, a statistic that’s truly staggering—in America 40% of food is wasted, which is why we volunteered at The Nashville Food Project, where they’re aiming to change just that.
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“It’s not that there is not enough food – there is enough food. We’re trying to get it to the people who need it in an efficient and timely way,” said Nashville Food Project CEO, C.J. Sentell.
Sentell said they are doing this through three core elements. “We grow, cook, and share nourishing food to cultivate community and alleviate hunger in our city.”
The Growing happens at three community gardens across the city. “We have community gardeners there,” Sentell said. “We have a program where we work with immigrant and refugee farmers to sell for market, and we host educational workshops and community gardens both individual plots and collective cultivation plots.”
The Cooking happens in multiple locations as well, with their meal program. “It’s fun to be here and see them cooking on such a massive scale to help those in need around town,” said Nashville Food Project volunteer, Rachel Teater.
Sentell said they’re recovering food from across the city, “We’re bringing it back here and using volunteer power to make it into hot, sometimes cold, ready-to-eat meals that we’re distributing across other poverty-disrupting and community-building non-profits.”
That’s where the Sharing element comes into play as they distribute about 6,000 meals with over 50 non-profits like the YMCA, the Martha O’Bryan Center, Operation Stand Down—even small grassroots organizations.
“It’s really awesome to contribute in a really tangible way where you can know that the food you are chopping or helping prepare, is going to those in need here in Nashville,” said Teater.
But behind it all, there’s one core component. “Building community is at the heart of what we’re doing, and we’re doing that through good,” said Sentell. “A lot of people think that the food is sort of the end goal – and it is a very important product. But the process involves bringing people together, and that is creating community at every level of our work – so in the kitchens, in the gardens, and around the table.”
To volunteer or donate to the Nashville Food Project, click here.