Rich started his advertising career in London, but moved to Sydney, Australia. There, he helped the CommonWealth Bank of Australia develop economic opportunity for thousands of farmers, and small businesses operating in the Outback, the most isolated and underserved regions in the country.
Fast-forward a decade, Rich now resides in Queens, N.Y. with his wife Johanna. The pair run an award-winning immersive creators’ studio, Two Goats — creating tech products, such as virtual and augmented reality, to better brand experiences in both entertainment and retail.
Then along came 2020!
Covid-19 hit the entertainment and retail industries hard; much of their work stopped. Rather than curl up and cry, Rich and Johanna got to work with José Andrés — a Spanish-American chef, restaurateur, and founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters. Rich and Johanna helped lead challenging operations designed to keep local farms and hundreds of NYC restaurants in business by supplying fresh, nutritious produce and meals for millions of New Yorkers including first responders; community-based orgs; and folks who lost jobs, grieved family members, or had little access to nutritious food.
Throughout this time, Rich and Johanna met with many industry leaders to better understand the food world; a world that’s complex and worryingly fragile! One statement kept coming up: “The U.S. does not have a food shortage problem, it has an equitable distribution and food waste problem.” Which means, there is food, plenty of food, but sadly, much of it is wasted or poorly distributed, especially to those communities living at poverty level or within a food desert.
According to Feeding America, more than 42 million Americans experience food insecurity and hunger every day. In case the problem wasn’t already clear, this stat really brings it home: 1 in 6 children (17%) live in homes without consistent access to adequate food for everyone to live healthy, active lives.... yet we live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, where we knowingly waste 133 billion pounds (35%) of the food we produce, distribute and buy - that's enough food to feed another 66 million people per year! This is a national problem that needs to be fixed.
Food waste is, of course, an issue in and of itself but not having access to nutritious food can also lead to cases of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. At school, food insecure children are linked to lower grades and non-cognitive skills, and they may be more likely to exhibit behavioral problems, including anxiety, psychological distress, and substance use.
Rich and Johanna concluded that there’s a need to transform how food moves through our communities — equitably and without waste and if food scarcity is not the issue, then awareness and access are. With that vision in mind, FoodStream was founded.
FoodStream co-founders, Rich & Johanna Cumming.
If you are a grassroots group, institution, food entity, or funder and advocate for equitable access to nutritious, culturally relevant food resources for your community, then FoodStream Network is for you.
We’re so grateful to you and can’t wait for you to join!
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