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Rick Nahmias

Food Forward

A man goes on a walk and literally stumbles across a simple fix for the complex problems of hunger and food waste. Here’s how his idea is feeding thousands in Southern California.


On paper it doesn't make any sense. One out of every six people in the United States lack access to sufficient food, yet 40 percent of the food produced in this country goes to waste.

These statistics may be staggering, but they aren't unique to the U.S. According to the new documentary WASTED: The Story of Food Waste, more than 1.3 billion pounds of food gets thrown away across the globe each year, while 800 million people worldwide go hungry.

But Rick Nahmias wasn't thinking about these stunning figures while walking through his neighborhood in Valley Glen, California in January 2009. He was a photographer who'd worked extensively with the state's migrant workers, but on that day he was just trying to get some exercise for his dog, Scout. Glancing at the citrus trees in the yards around him, he realized that most of the fruit — food that could feed otherwise hungry people — would fall to the ground and go to waste unless someone did something. So he did.

With the help of just one other person, Nahmias set to work picking tangerines from a single backyard. By the end of the day, they'd harvested more than 100 pounds of fruit. And Nahmias knew he'd stumbled onto an idea with enormous potential.

Nahmias used that idea to launch Food Forward. During the past 8 years, Food Forward has rescued more than 42 million pounds (over 140 million servings) of produce. The organization has moved beyond just harvesting backyard fruit trees and today works with public orchards and farmers markets to take food that would otherwise be wasted and use it to help hunger relief agencies across eight Southern California counties.

Each month, food recovered by Food Forward feeds more than 100,000 people. And Nahmias says it's just the beginning. Tune in and learn more about his two-birds-one-stone solution for fighting hunger and food waste.

Want to hear about another smart way to combat waste and help others? Then you won't want to miss our episode about the Global Soap Project. You'll be surprised to learn how those little hotel soaps can make an enormous, life-saving difference in developing nations. And you'll be inspired by the organization's founder, Derreck Kayongo, who along with his family had to escape a brutal, murderous dictator in order to get where he is today. Check it out.

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