Meatopia 2016 is a Wrap!

by Food Rescue Coordinator Christa Ross

I am generally amazed at the amount of time it takes to put out just one of our many meals.  Of course there’s the prep time, the cook time, the drive time, and all of the logistics.  All of these things, in themselves, take time, planning, and implementation.  

But upwards and above all of these basic things that make up a meal, our mission incorporates the use of rescued and donated food as a central ingredient.   Keeping down costs means more, high quality meals going out to our communities. It also means less food waste heading to the landfill.  I love this idea -- in the midst of our societies abundance, as we are surrounded, out of sight, by the hungry and under represented, all food should play a part in feeding our community.

Last week we had one of our largest gleaning opportunities of the year -- a meat conference at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center -- an event we have fondly been referring to as “MEATOPIA”.  We rescued a grand total of 11,000 lbs of meat from this event -- what will be used for many months to feed our community.  What an amazing gift.

The planning for this event included many meetings and emails, volunteer wrangling, one of the most intricate colored duct-tape inventory systems I’ve ever seen, and a truck load of wax boxes.  We also pulled together 5 trucks for hauling the meat and ended up filling two walk in freezers (stacks of boxes everywhere) and three pallets full stored in a warehouse freezer.

The evening starts with a massive room full of displays like this one. We send teams around the room collecting all of the meat and bringing it back to our staging area to be sorted and transported to our kitchen.

The evening starts with a massive room full of displays like this one. We send teams around the room collecting all of the meat and bringing it back to our staging area to be sorted and transported to our kitchen.

Here's where the duct-tape comes in. All of the meat gets sorted - chicken with chicken, beef with beef, bacon with bacon (and there's a LOT of bacon) - and then loaded up in our refrigerated truck and other volunteer vehicles to be taken back to our kitche.

Here's where the duct-tape comes in. All of the meat gets sorted - chicken with chicken, beef with beef, bacon with bacon (and there's a LOT of bacon) - and then loaded up in our refrigerated truck and other volunteer vehicles to be taken back to our kitche.

We are forever grateful to all of the donors at the convention, to Gaylord Opryland for letting us use their loading dock, to Nashville Grown for his wonderful refrigerated truck, and to Triumph and all other volunteers, without whom we could never have pulled it off.  You all are amazing!  

Just a few hours earlier, this room was full of meat. Thank you to the convention and Gaylord Opryland for allowing us to recover all of this great food for our meals!

Just a few hours earlier, this room was full of meat. Thank you to the convention and Gaylord Opryland for allowing us to recover all of this great food for our meals!