Food Rescue Pledge for Event Planners and Industry Professionals

Problem Statement:

When food ends up in landfill, it decomposes without oxygen, and as a result, it releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest producer of carbon emissions behind China and the United States. Furthermore, the more food that we waste, the more food we need to produce. This constant need to produce more puts additional pressure on the environment. For example, 25 million acres of land are deforested each year in order to grow food. This is happening despite the fact that we are actually producing enough food to feed the world.

Target Group:

This project targets and benefits food insecure residents, food banks, event planners, caterers and venues in Minneapolis St Paul.

Proposed Solution:

Event planners, caterers, and venues in Minneapolis St Paul have the opportunity to utilize food rescue programs and waste reduction efforts (e.g. MealConnect) in an effort to divert a portion of the $21 billion worth of global food waste from events ending up in the landfill.

We will host a pilot project “Food Rescue Pledge” to support Second Harvest Heartland and the expansion of Meal Connect program by driving awareness among local event industry professionals in the Twin Cities about rescuing prepared foods destined for landfill at the end of an event.

Hub Activities:

  • Explore/Submit food rescue grants, explore questions / survey various stakeholders to discover barriers to participation

  • Partner with Second Harvest Heartland and Waste Wise MN to develop a toolkit and pilot pledge outline, audit on-site experiences to gather more data and survey

  • Interview, recruit and onboard venues, planners, caterers to commit to testing out the pledge and working through the tools

  • Secure partners, finalize toolkit and support staff needed to implement

  • Deliver and launch toolkit and present to partners, test out

  • Pilot launch (during wedding and event season), track metrics along the way

  • Gather data and metrics, interviews, learnings

  • Gather together and celebrate the final results and gather commitments to continued support of the program and bring others into the pledge

Short & Long-Term Goals/Results:

  • Curate and elevate a relationship with local venues, planners, and food rescue nonprofits to partner with, and support, efforts to feed those in need

  • Drive awareness and educate event planners, venues, and industry professionals on the issues of food waste in the industry and develop an educational resource to share tips and resources on reducing local food waste

  • Redirect food destined for landfill

  • Measure the social and environmental impact of the redirected food rescued from landfill

  • Gather media coverage and interest around the campaign/challenge to educate public and industry about the Meal Connect program and food rescue options

Available Metrics:

Metrics of success -

  • Lbs. of food diverted from landfill

  • Carbon emissions offset of lbs. of food diverted from landfill

  • Number of residents and families who benefit from increased access to food

  • Number of meals provided

Key Performance Indicators -

  • Number of grants applied to

  • Funding raised (USD)

  • Number of employees hired to support expansion

  • Number of industry professionals reached or mobilized

  • Number of local event industry professionals pledged/signed up to utilize Meal Connect

  • Number of sessions/trainings held

  • Number of touchpoints, surveys, and pivots to the program along the process


  • Representative Meal Connect

  • Secondhand Harvest Heartland