Here at roux, food is at the heart of our culture. It’s in our name, of course, and it’s one of our favorite ways to connect as a team. We love preparing meals for one another and spending time together at some of our favorite local restaurants, but we also know that not everyone has enough food to go around.
In Nashville alone, one of every six people is considered food-insecure. It’s a cause that’s heavy on our hearts, and that’s why we first gravitated toward The Nashville Food Project. NFP has a goal of alleviating hunger in the Nashville community, and we were eager to learn more about the work they’re doing.
To get started, we attended their First Taste event, which we strongly recommend if you’re local to Nashville (they have another event coming up on January 8). Their team prepared a wonderful breakfast for us and shared some of the ways they’re working to empower the community and help those in need.
How does the Nashville Food Project work?
NFP operates on a three-fold model of growing, cooking and sharing nutritious food with the community. We got to witness the growing aspect firsthand at our volunteer event this August with Julia Reynolds Thompson, NFP’s Director of Garden Operations.
NFP grows food in the gardens for their kitchens, while also providing land for community growers to plant their own food. It’s incredibly hard work, and witnessing it made us admire what they do so much more.
“In the gardens, we’re providing access to land, resources, and education to community gardeners from around the city, prioritizing folks who are experiencing significant barriers to land access,” said Julia. “We’re also engaging with the larger community through our volunteer program in the garden, hoping to provide a point of re-connection between people, the land and food.”
Beyond the gardens, NFP operates two kitchens with a diverse community of volunteers. In the kitchens, they cook and share 5,000 meals each week. The ingredients they use are grown or donated by members of the community, and NFP also makes the effort to use food that might otherwise be wasted.
According to NFP, 40 percent of food produced in the United States goes to waste.
“We partner with local grocers, farmers, restaurants and markets to recover food that would otherwise go into the landfill,” Julia said.
The partnerships developed with those local businesses and individuals provide an array of ingredients for NFP’s kitchens. Julia emphasizes the generosity of many of their partners, who often share not only their seconds, but some of their best products. This could show up as anything from excess harvest from a backyard garden, to food recovered from events that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Ultimately, NFP works tirelessly to make fresh, healthy meals and snacks available to those in need through a variety of outlets and partners. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from this type of support, you can check out Where to Turn in Nashville, an online resource that includes NFP’s partners.
How can I get involved?
NFP relies on its community of volunteers to accomplish its goals each and every day.
“One of the amazing things about our work is that it couldn’t be done without the huge input of time and commitment from our community,” Julia said.
If you’re local to the Nashville area, there are a variety of ways to directly support this wonderful cause. You can offer up your time in NFP’s gardens, kitchens, or food trucks, helping to fulfill the mission of growing, cooking, and sharing. Learn more about available opportunities here.
If you’re short on time or live farther away, financial donations of any amount have the power to make an impact for NFP and the community it serves.
Thank you so much for checking in on the kitchen. We enjoy the opportunity to share what’s going on with roux and our community, and we’re thrilled that you stopped by the blog. If you have any comments or just want to say hello, drop us a line below.