A Food Bank and a Bakery walk into a Bar...

September 08, 2022  |  by Cody Gohl   |  

In New York City, over 30 percent of our trash is made up of food waste at the same time that 1.6 million New Yorkers are facing food insecurity. Every day, food sits in landfills while our neighbors go hungry, a crisis only heightened by the rising costs of food, gas, and rent in our city 

To fight back against this immense waste, we at Food Bank For New York City work with local grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, and farms to rescue and redistribute an average of 1 million pounds of food a month. Last year, we rescued over 11 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food for our neighbors all across the five boroughs. 

This Hunger Action Month, we’re taking this work a step further by partnering with two Brooklyn-based businesses (Threes Brewing and Runner & Stone bakery) to create “Food For Thought,” a beer made from locally sourced and rescued bread.  

Try our collaboration at a special Beer Tasting on September 13 or anytime onsite at Threes Brewing. Click here for details.

food for thought emailBrewers at Threes cutting the rescued baguettes from Runner & Stone for the brew; the finished product.  

One of the most difficult food items to rescue is bread. Baked goods have a short shelf life, which means there’s a small window in which they can be redistributed in their normal state. So, while Food Bank is able to distribute thousands of pounds of bread each year (with nearly 630,000 pounds distributed last year alone), there is still a potential for waste depending on when bread products can move out of our Warehouse & Distribution Center in the Bronx.  

Though bread itself may expire quickly, the active ingredients in bread can be turned into so many other things... like beer! While we may not have a brewery of our own at Food Bank, we thought it would be fascinating to see if we could partner with local businesses to save bread from the landfill and transform it into a beer that would both taste delicious and raise awareness about food waste in NYC. Enter “Food For Thought.”  

“When Food Bank approached us, they expressed a desire for this project to alter people’s perceptions about food waste,” explained Matt Levy, Head Brewer at Threes Brewing. “Brewing a beer with this objective presented an intriguing challenge and is a unique means of raising awareness about hunger and encouraging more conscious consumption of food.”  

food for thought brewingBrewing "Food For Thought" at Threes Brewing.

With Threes on board to brew, we reached out to Runner & Stone, a bakery located two blocks down from Threes in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. Runner & Stone enthusiastically agreed to contribute bread that would have otherwise been composted to the project, a move aligned with the bakery’s creative approach to food waste.  

“We work to repurpose any extra or scrap doughs that we produce, and the kitchen always tries to find innovative ways to use all parts of an ingredient (think turning carrot tops into pesto or bones into home-made bone broth),” said Peter Endriss, head baker at Runner & Stone. “We also partner with ‘Too Good To Go’ [an app that connects consumers to restaurants with surplus food] and donate leftover items to our local soup kitchen, CHiPS [a Food Bank member agency that serves communities in Park Slope, Brooklyn].”  

MicrosoftTeams-image (148)Enjoy a pint of "Food For Thought" at Threes Brewing in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Every purchase of beer will provide five meals for New Yorkers in need. 

Together, this collaboration between a brewery, a bakery, and a Food Bank produced “Food For Thought,” a spicy, snappy lager with notes of red current and rye now for sale at Threes (located here). Every purchase of beer will provide five meals for New Yorkers in need.   

To learn more about “Food For Thought,” click this link. You can also visit our Hunger Action Month landing page to join us in taking action against hunger today.  

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