There’s a familiar proverb that says if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, then you feed him for a lifetime.
I believe that introducing people to new ingredients and teaching them recipes they can use everyday can make a difference to people dealing with food insecurity in my community and around the country.
BAN Productions – BAN stands for Balanced and Nutritious – is a nonprofit I created to test a new approach to address the problem of food insecurity. This is a problem that affects nearly eight hundred thousand people in South Florida and millions more nationwide. Our idea was to show that two wrongs can make a right – by diverting surplus food from the waste stream, we can improve food security.
By tapping into my network of food suppliers and deploying my catering company’s mobile kitchens, BAN teaches people recipes using fresh surplus ingredients. Much of the surplus food available from food banks and diverted from the waste stream is unfamiliar and, frankly, it can be a little intimidating. My mother would not have the first idea about how to prepare and cook an eggplant, and she’s hardly alone.
Every one of our cooking demonstrations is unique because it uses whatever ingredients are available at the time. Nothing gives me more joy than creating a new recipe and sharing it with people who can then cook a balanced and nutritious meal for their families.
BAN’s vision is to use community outreach and education so that we stop throwing away food and everyone gets enough to eat. Our model is easily scaled up – the more funding we have, the more kitchens we can deploy. And it’s replicable – a chef in any part of the country can use existing connections with food suppliers to provide the ingredients for an educational demonstration.
BAN Productions is currently seeking funding to support our existing outreach in South Florida and allow us to expand throughout the Southeast United States. We’re also looking to partner with organizations that can take our model national because we firmly believe that what is working here can work anywhere.
There’s no reason for a family to face food insecurity while we throw away so much. I hope you’ll join me in teaching communities new recipes using fresh surplus food to help the fight against hunger.