It was June 2007 and The Nashville Food Project, then operating as a local arm of the Austin-based nonprofit, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, began reaching out to those experiencing homelessness in our city. With a commissary at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, our first catering truck began making runs to homeless camps three days a week to deliver sack-lunch meals. By January 2009, Mobile Loaves & Fishes had moved to the campus of Woodmont Christian Church and added a second truck. And when Nashville flooded in May 2010, Mobile Loaves & Fishes was ready to help: in that three week period, our volunteers delivered more than 19,000 meals to displaced residents, Metro Water Service employees, and others working relief and recovery efforts across the city.
But we knew there was still more to be done. We began considering other ways we could impact our city through the shared experience of food. We wanted to do more than just feed hungry people by dropping off handouts a few times a week. We wanted to incorporate nutrition, gardens, fresh produce and community meals. We wanted to be part of more creative solutions to the local problem of food insecurity, using local funds and local volunteers.
After five years with the parent organization, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Inc., our advisory board made the bold move to establish an independent nonprofit in Nashville. In October 2011, The Nashville Food Project was born. We are proud to say that one hundred percent of the money we receive for our work stays right here in our city.
We are focused on how food can be a tool for building up communities. Our mission is to bring people together to grow, cook and share nourishing food, with the goals of cultivating community and alleviating hunger in our city. We know that one in five people in Nashville lacks access to enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle. But we also know that more than 40% of all the food in our city gets wasted. Through our work we have discovered that solutions to hunger take much more than simple handouts. Poverty, unemployment, low wages and escalating living costs all contribute to the challenges that the most vulnerable residents of our city face.
The Nashville Food Project is sharing food and supporting communities in variety of ways:
- Grow - In our Gardens we grow organic food intensively, and share resources with others interested in growing their own food.
- Cook - In our Kitchens, we use recovered, donated and garden-grown food to prepare and cook healthy, hot meals.
- Share - From our Food Trucks we distribute meals from our kitchen and fresh produce from our gardens to people in need.
We offer you a hearty welcome to come by and volunteer soon!