It’s very exciting to see so many new startup companies in the world of food tech. The ideas can be fresh and innovative, while making our lives easier and these types of companies are taking off with investors. But some companies aren’t just out to make money or make things more convenient. Some are out to change more than just food in the world.
The Town Kitchen, based in California, is a food delivery service to companies that serves great meals. But in addition to helping business save time and have access to great food, the Town Kitchen also employs students and young adults at a wage of between $15-$20 an hour, teaching them entrepreneurial skills, food prep and even social justice! They get valuable work experience, learn management skills and often go onto roles in partner organizations. So instead of just running another food delivery service, this company empowers it’s employees with education, living wages, and opportunities in the world of food and management.
Another company working to improve conditions in the world is Growing Spaces, which has designed solar powered greenhouse domes to bring fresh crops to places where the climate for growing is not optimal. They’ve brought their products to the rough climate of the Rocky Mountains, to Alaska during the winter and to places in Mexico with no electricity. The solar powered greenhouse can make a huge change in many parts of the world where food is scarce or not of high quality. In turn, this widens our areas for population and increases our nutrition and way of life.
Finally, there is Zero Percent, based in Chicago, which works to eliminate food waste by connecting businesses and non-profit organizations who could use surplus food. They follow strict FDA guidelines to provide safe food and offer a way to connect those with surplus food to reach out to those in need. In this way, Zero Percent is helping with the fight against both hunger and food waste.
Of course not every food startup needs to make such an obvious contribution to the community, environment and hunger, but with almost every new innovation, the path leads inadvertently to more efficient use of food, more jobs and improvements to the community in many different ways.
Heather Jonasson is a Texan, food lover and believer in social justice. She is the Twitter expert at Feeding the Accelerator. You can follow her at @FeedAccelerator or @heatheraudrey