The Daily Table is a special kind of supermarket located in Dorchester, Massachusets. It collects healthy food from big retailers that would otherwise be destroyed, and makes it available for low income people at prices they can’t refuse.
The Daily Table is a non-profit organization created by Doug Rauch, Trader Joe’s former executive. It is meant to offer healthy meal alternatives for people who cannot afford to eat elsewhere than fast food restaurants. The Daily Table has prices that are similar to those of junk food, so that these places can finally get some healthy competition.
The food is donated by large supermarket chains, who need to take back food that is reaching its expiration date and fruit and vegetables that do not meet the freshness criteria required for being sold. Normally, this food is destroyed. It is thrown away along with chemicals, so as to prevent dumpster diving.
This constitutes an enormous waste and it is unacceptable that such practices continue while there are people who still go hungry in America. Furthermore, when people cannot afford to buy healthy nutritious food, like fresh fruit and vegetables, they end up having their entire meal plan constituted of junk food, like burgers, fries and pizza.
And it is because they eat this every day for every single meal, that obesity and diabetes become inescapable. The treatment of these diseases costs more than they can afford and ultimately, the situation become very grim very fast.
This is exactly what Rauch wanted to change. If they have to live on $1 food on a daily basis, then they should at least have a choice between the $1 menu from McDonald’s and some healthy food that they can buy for the exact same price.
And so, the Daily Table offers its customers food that might be close to its expiration date, that has reached that date the present day, or that is actually past it, but never items that are capable of putting people’s health in danger.
This does not mean that the food has gone bad. Rauch tried to remind us that expiration dates have more of an orientation purpose in most cases and that they do not always need to be followed exactly for every food item out there.
The NGO also offers fruit and vegetables that are not as fresh and perky as the ones from a regular supermarket, but that are perfectly edible. Furthermore, there is also a daily menu that includes cooked food. The offers are different every single day, because it all depends on what food is brought in that specific morning.
That food that goes into the cooked meals generally needs to be consumed that same day, but the important fact is that the food is perfectly good that day. And so, the chef, along with his assistants can easily chop away any parts of the vegetables that are not proper, and use the rest of the item for hot freshly made meals that are available for good prices.
This is something everybody has done in the privacy of their own kitchen. Who hasn’t bought fruit or vegetables and kept them in the fridge for a little bit longer than they had intended? An apple pie is just as good if it’s made from apples that had a small portion that had gone bad and that has been cut off.
The Daily Table offers items like a dozen eggs for $1.19, or a can of tuna for 55 cents. The vegetables are all under $1, and quite ofter under 50 cents. The carrots go for 29 cents a pound and the squash goes for 59 cents a pound.
They made it possible for people to pay around $30 and leave with enough healthy food to feed themselves and their families for an entire week. And that is a laudable achievement, because it has the potential of doing so much good in the community.
Naturally, it has not received praises only, as many people seem to think that Rauch is offering garbage to poor people and they find the whole concept offensive. The reality is that they need a change of perspective. The food that is destroyed by large company on a daily basis is not inedible, but simply does not meet the quality criteria expected from certain retailers.
Raunch has managed to turn something that would have cost money to destroy into the only healthy option available for very many Americans that would literally starve if it weren’t for dollar menus from fast food restaurants.
He hopes to open three more stores in Boston and even to extend to other cities like Los Angeles, New York, Detroit or San Francisco, so that more people can benefit from this concept. Hopefully he will be able to do so, because it will help very many people out there lead healthier lives.
Image Source: npr.org