In the second installment of our Earth (Day) Month series, we bring you a very important topic: Managing food waste! Oracle is one company out of hundreds of thousands nationally and globally. It's disturbing to think how much is thrown out whether catered corporate meals or on-campus cafeteria dining. So after watching the movie Just Eat It we were inspired to have a conversation with Oracle’s Carlos DaSilva, who manages the food services from Bon Appetit at Oracle’s HQ campus. We talked about how he helps manage food waste and other related impacts.
Question: After hearing that about one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is lost or wasted, what does Oracle’s HQ campus do to minimize our food waste?
Carlos: The Bon Appetit chefs across all the HQ cafes collectively plan menus so that they significantly minimize waste. The chefs are in constant communication and plan menus so that oftentimes they use food items at another café. Once a café closes, they also bring various food items over to the 300 Oracle Parkway Café, which is open later, so that the food items can be sold while still fresh.
Question: For food that Oracle’s HQ cafes cannot reuse, do we do anything to recycle or pass on the leftover food?
Carlos: For leftover food that meets our food criteria (for example, not extending beyond the food safety holding time), Oracle participates in a food donation program, “Chefs to End Hunger,” with a group called SF Specialty. The mission of Chefs to End Hunger is to provide meals to the hungry by redistributing the excess prepared food that would normally go to waste to local food agencies who then serve meals to others. Chefs to End Hunger relies on a 100% donation of supplies (for example, boxes and labels), meals, and transportation from participants and plans to one day be implemented nationwide. The chefs at Oracle’s HQ locations pack and label the Chefs to End Hunger boxes, store them in their coolers, and then hand over full boxes to a driver with the goal of providing meals to the hungry.
Question: Does Oracle work with Bon Appetit to provide food that is sourced locally, both to provide healthier food choices, as well as to minimize transportation impacts?
Carlos: Oracle and Bon Appetit are in complete alignment in their desire to use locally produced food as much as possible, which is part of the reason for their partnership. 20% of what Bon Appetit chefs buy is produced from within 150 miles of the Oracle campuses. The Bon Appetit chefs also purchase “imperfectly delicious” produce and create recipes to use that produce. For example, they may use bruised bananas that might otherwise be disposed of and instead use them for banana bread. In addition, Oracle has edible gardens at its Santa Clara, Pleasanton, and Oracle Plaza campuses and uses the produce from these gardens in its meals. Oracle continues to grow the number of edible gardens and even has plans to add some beehives to the Pleasanton campus.