Sweetlife music festivals celebrate both good food and good music. Now in its sixth year, not only did this year’s two day May event at the Merriweather Post Pavillion bring 25 musical artists together with 36 local food vendors selling delicious, healthy food, and 22,000 people, but the sponsors also invited Community Food Rescue (CFR) to recover surplus food. The festival is hosted by sweetgreen, the DC based café chain, now with 31 locations in seven states that offer delicious, healthy food aligned with their sustainability ethos. Their sweetlife music festival demonstrated their commitment to zero waste, where everything was either recyclable or compostable. Now with CFR’s participation, the festival moves up the supply chain, so that good food is recovered and redistributed to people that experience hunger.
Community Food Rescue partners, Manna Food Center and Rainbow Community Development Center picked up an amazing array of food for their clients—3,623 lbs. of surplus food including: rib-eye steak, fresh oysters, corn on the cob, pulled pork, and chicken, ground beef, portabella mushroom sandwiches, kale Caesar salads, marinated satay chicken strips, carrot juice, brioche rolls, and falafel. In all 19 vendors donated their surplus food including sweetgreen, Toki Underground, Teaism, Chesapeake Oyster Co., Luke’s Lobster, and Keany Produce.
Pat Drumming, Executive Director of Rainbow Community Development Center, picked up food on the last night of the concert. “With help from the sweetlife volunteers, it took us 1-1/2 hours to gather the food and load the truck after the vendors closed up. Once back at Rainbow CDC, with help from our team of eight volunteers, it took another two hours to unload the truck into our refrigerators and freezers.”
She was thrilled with the quantity and the quality of the food, especially the proteins and fresh produce that are so critical to healthy eating and are hard to get from food donors. Pat reported that, “217 of our food-insecure clients received this food. We also shared 650 pounds with Adventist Community Services and 480 pounds with Heritage House. Heritage House served 70 seniors with the food they received.”
Sweetgreen co-founders Nathaniel, Nicolas, and Jonathan sum up the recent music festival.
“Sweetlife 2015 is not just about seeing some of our favorite bands perform, or eating the best healthy, local food around – it’s the intersection of these two things coming together to create a memorable experience.”
Now with CFR partner participation, 3,623 lbs. of good food that would have been thrown away, instead nourishes our neighbors, reduces waste and makes this memorable experience even sweeter for all.