On October 7, 2016 after months of discussion and planning, Feeding the 5000 - Portland Maine edition was launched. Feedback.org, based in London has hosted about 40 of these mass feeding events to promote awareness of food waste in our society around the world. By sourcing only donated product - through food rescue - products deemed unsaleable by grocery stores and by gleaning. FT5000 demonstrates the value in this food by serving a bowl of stew for no charge to 5000 people in one day.
Coming on the heels of the BikeMaine Ride made this a difficult event to fully engage our resources. Dave Seddon supplied planning assistance to this collaboration of organizations for the cooking and serving of this scale. Ron Adams stepped into the lead chef role 10 days before the event and Jon Wiley participated took care of all temperature checks and food safety reviews.
While the recipe called for a very flavorful mix of coriander and cumin - the recipe had to be adjusted to the actual ingredients and amounts supplied by the gleaning volunteers. And then it had to be scaled up to serve 5000. Half would be cooked at the field kitchen on Monument Square or at Fork Food Lab and transported. Half would be served at satellite locations such as USM, Yarmouth Schools, Preble Street Kitchen, etc.
This was the first time Feedback.org had attempted this event in a city as small as Portland and they were worried on the capacity and participation ahead of the event. With the passion of so many organizations, it was a huge success: 4,000 pounds of vegetables gleaned from southern Maine farms; 1800 pounds of vegetables chopped by 50 volunteers in 5 hours during the Disco Chop at Fork Food Lab; 800 pounds of vegetables prepared, distributed and cooked at satellite locations; 2,000 pounds of rescued fruit and vegetables given away for free; 2,000 portions of delicious Vegetable Stew cooked and served in Monument Square between 11:30 am and 3 pm.
In total, 4,700 portions served out of our goal for 5000! A great result compared to FT5000 in Washington DC which only served 1000 in their event - way to go Maine!