When I was a kid staring over a mountain of IHOP pancakes snow-lined with whipped cream and crested with a cherry, my folks would always say, “You’re eyes are bigger than your stomach.” They were right, of course. I’d often push back from the table stuffed with a mangled half stack of flapjacks perilously leaning toward the edge of my plate in a melted puddle of pale-brown whip and syrup.
Little has changed, only it’s my aging eyes that are bigger than my metabolism, so I simply order a lot less. I was astonished to learn that in 2010, the United States wasted 33 million tons of food – almost 14 percent of the total municipal solid waste stream, according the EPA – less than three percent of which was recovered and recycled.
Now add to this gross waste another startling fact: One in five children in America goes to bed hungry every night. Talking about the ultimate problem/solution scenario.
A group of innovative students from Arizona State University has an answer. They’ve created FlashFood, an online social media app that allows restaurants, caterers, and conventions to notify the mobile network of excess food, which is then picked up and delivered to community centers for immediate distribution to the needy.
One of the highlights of our year is when professor Richard Filley, now the director of iProjects and eProjects at ASU, asked if we’d help his FlashFood team prepare their story for the Imagine Cup’s international competition in Sydney, Australia. We happily pitched in, and much to our surprise, Microsoft sent a documentary team along to capture our work and his team’s pursuit of the Imagine Cup.
We’re proud to be part of FlashFood’s journey, and know they will save a lot of food and feed thousands of hungry kids in 2013 and beyond.