Sharing the Abundance of Our City

Did you know that 40% of all the food in our city gets thrown away? For the average Nashville family, that’s 20 pounds of food waste per month and $1,500 of food thrown away each year.

But The Nashville Food Project is working to change that. Earlier this year, we became a lead agency partner in the National Resources Defense Council’s Nashville Food Waste Initiative. As part of this initiative to greatly reduce Nashville’s food waste, we’ve ramped up efforts to recover healthy surplus food from local farms, grocers and restaurants. This food is used in our meals to feed our city’s most vulnerable communities while greatly reducing the amount of food that enters our city’s waste stream. Already this year, we’ve recovered more than 20,000 pounds of food!

Our largest food donation this year - 11,000 pounds of meat recovered from a meat conference at Gaylord Opryland

Our largest food donation this year - 11,000 pounds of meat recovered from a meat conference at Gaylord Opryland

This increase in donated food has allowed our staff and volunteers to work more creatively to produce our meals. As the amount of food coming in has skyrocketed, we’ve learned to really think on the fly, adapting menus for the food we’ve received and supplementing with gleaned food whenever possible. Here are a few examples of the fun menus we’ve put together recently using donated food:

  • Southwest Chicken Salad sandwiches using chicken gleaned from Chipotle
  • Hummus and veggie wraps using ingredients entirely gleaned from Whole Foods in Green Hills
  • Chocolate bars topped with cream cheese frosting and strawberries using gleaned chess pie, gleaned cream cheese and sour cream from Iron Fork, Strawberries gleaned from Creation Gardens
  • Breakfast Potato Fritatas using potatoes gleaned from Mitchell's Deli
  • French Toast Sticks using items gleaned from Sinema
  • Beef Stroganoff using Prime Rib gleaned from The Green Hills Grill

Increasing our food rescue efforts has also strengthened our community partnerships. We’ve added many new food donors and increased our work with several existing donors including Whole Foods Market, with whom we now glean three times each week at their Green Hills and Franklin locations. We’ve also strengthened our nonprofit partnerships as any food that we can’t use in our meals is shared with a nonprofit partner, ensuring all food goes to someone who is hungry rather than into a dumpster.

The great increase we’ve seen in donated food, has had a big impact on our meals program - decreasing food costs and increasing the amount of food we can share. Already this year, we’ve more than doubled our weekly meals production. To make this all happen, we’ve increased our meals team by two:

Booth Jewett
Food Donations Coordinator

Booth moved to Nashville in 2012 to attend Trevecca Nazarene University, where he earned a degree in Social Justice. He also received his Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) from the University of Vermont in 2015. He is a committed and passionate worker in the local food movement with experience in sustainable farming, community engagement, and speaking and teaching on food justice issues. Booth was born in Atlanta,GA and is an avid fan of all Atlanta sports teams. He and his wife Brittany live in South Nashville.

Christa Ross
Meals Manager - South Hall

A Nashville native, Christa received a degree in environmental policy from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She headed west after school and spent five years in Oregon and Northern California working on several organic farms and in catering -- developing a deep seeded love for food.  After moving back to Nashville, Christa joined the staff of TNFP as Food Rescue Coordinator before moving into her current role of Meals Manager - South Hall. Outside of work, Christa spends as much time as possible outside, hiking, kayaking and growing good food!

For more information or to donate food, please contact Food Donations Coordinator Booth Jewett at