The kitchen at CitySquare in Dallas is a place of culinary creativity.
"This one here is a base for a shepherd's pie," chef Alexis Baker said. "Every day is an adventure!"
Baker runs CitySquare's Food Recovery Program. Her meal planning is based on what's available in the CitySquare pantry and warehouse.
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"Tuesday is my grocery shopping day," Baker said. "Kind of go into the warehouse and pick and pull things, use my culinary background as inspiration."
Baker said she makes her choices based on what there is the most of and the shelf-life of those items.
"So, I like to use what we know is going to go bad first," Baker said, explaining that she chose to make shepherd's pie because the warehouse was flush with cabbage, which doesn't last as long. "There's food out there, we just got to figure out how to feed it to people."
The goal is to prevent good food from going in the dumpster because it went bad before someone who needed it had the opportunity to eat it. Roughly one-third of the food produced around the world is thrown away.
"Personally, I enjoy the fact that this job is kind of fighting two big battles at the time same," Baker said. "Food waste and feeding people in need."
The shepherd's pie Baker made was enough for 400 1-pound meals. Some of those meals go to the CitySquare pantry, which serves 800 families each week.
Twice a month, shoppers CitySquare calls "neighbors" can browse the aisles for food and fresh vegetables. There is no charge.
"Woo! I would have to go a long way if this place didn't exist just to get food," warehouse coordinator and CitySquare neighbor Jimmy Lewis said.
Lewis lives in a food desert, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as being more than a mile away from the nearest grocery store in an urban area, and more than 10 miles miles away from a market in a rural area.
Lewis, as warehouse manager, said he hates to see food go to waste.
"It's not a good feeling," Lewis said. "Because there's a lot of hungry people out there."