Well, we are a little bit over halfway through the 240 hours needed. It’s been a lot of fun! We produce anywhere from 850-1,000 meals out a day. In order to fully capture how many meals a day this is, I am going to use an example from this week. Last Saturday we made 22 quarts of salad dressing. Roughly a two second pour of salt and slightly less pepper and granulated garlic, along with 3 and 1/2 tubs of olive oil and a tub and a half of vinegar. Ridiculous…Our family wouldn’t consume that in two years. So on Wednesday, we made a garden salad, with that dressing. I portioned the dressing into 1,2, or 4 cup containers. With 900 meals that day, we didn’t finish the dressing, but had 8-10 quarts left. They will use the rest this week. It is absolutely crazy the mass production that takes place in the Food Project. After 4 weeks it still blows my mind.
Chicken! Well, there are lots of things you can do with chicken, such as chicken wraps, chicken salad, fajita chicken, chicken in stir fry, grilled chicken, chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, etc. The Nashville Food Project has two kitchens in the Nations area, their headquarters, and a kitchen at St. Luke’s, a preschool with a summer daycare program. On Mondays and Tuesdays I work at St. Luke’s, and they produce all of the cold meals, such as chicken wraps, and chicken Caesar salad. Obviously, there are more meals than that, but those are just a few examples including chicken. This kitchen is smaller, and the staff in charge are excellent people. I really enjoy working at this kitchen. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, I work at the headquarters, and they make the hot meals, such as stir fry, or pasta with chicken. This kitchen is newer, as we just moved there in December, and is also really fun to work at. At both kitchens the sense of community among the staff and the regular volunteers is great and it makes it an overall fun work environment. (This is a pitch to volunteer…) These kitchens are pumping out a lot of meals every day and they both contribute to the mission of the Food Project.
One thing that is absolutely amazing about the Nashville Food Project is that hardly any of the food donated goes into the trash. Most of the food can be salvaged or it goes into the compost. Composting can be annoying because of how stinky and disgusting it can get but it is worth it. Instead of going into landfills it gets broken down into soil. However, it can be difficult to start a compost at a house because of the smell as well as the space it takes up. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I got to cook some bacon and it smelled much better than the compost. However, a lot of stuff went in to this bacon besides just cooking it. People had to cut up the bacon into small pieces, which took work from volunteers, then I cooked it, but next the bacon will be used in something else that the chefs or cook team will work on. I enjoy the sense of community with my coworkers and I had a good Week 2.
The first week of my Fellowship is almost complete. I have enjoyed working with the people at the Nashville Food Project. The Food Project is pumping out so many meals. Most of the food we get is from donations. Grocery stores and some restaurants may not be able to use certain produce, so we can pick it up and use it. Most of the time it is a small bruise on one of the pieces of produce, so the rest of the package is usable. On Monday the kitchen at St. Luke’s received a big donation of produce, and it was crazy to think that all of the food would have been thrown out otherwise. On Tuesday I was so surprised that we were able to make 500+ sandwiches with only 4 volunteers. The Food Project is dependent on volunteers and if you’re reading this and would like to volunteer, go to the Nashville Food Project website and hit volunteer!
This is a photo from the donation we received on Monday. Lots of strawberries and blueberries!
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton