The monthly update for our most dedicated supporters from Gidi Kroch
Looking Back and Moving Forward into 2020
As 2019 draws to a close, we take this opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan for 2020. Each year we set goals (KPIs) for the coming year, looking at our expected income, evaluating the success of each program and determining how effective we will be in the coming year.
The real question we have to ask ourselves is, not just have we achieved our goals as one organization but also how much of an impact in food rescue have we had in Israel and the world at large. Did we reach our 2019 goals of rescuing 16,000 tons of produce and 2.2 million meals? Are we living up to the mission and vision of the organization? Are we the leaders in food rescue in Israel? (Spoiler, yes) Is all our food nutritious? (Again spoiler, yes) Are we efficient? Are we making ourselves available to all the diverse populations in Israel? (Yes and we focus on a continuous cycle of monitoring and improvement).
If we achieved our KPIs and met our annual goals, all in line with our mission and vision can we assume that this past year has been a success? Yes, but not completely. The Vision of Leket Israel is “An Israel where all surplus, nutritious food is rescued and directed to those who need it,” while our Mission states “To lead the safe, effective and efficient collection and distribution of surplus nutritious food in Israel, to those who need it.” If our goal is to rescue all surplus nutritious food, emphasis on “all”, then we are not even close. According to our 2018 Food Waste and Rescue Report, in Israel, we are discarding 2.5 million tons of food each year (at a value of NIS 19.5 billion). Assuming that half of that is fit for consumption, then that still leaves 1.25 million tons of food which is rescuable for distribution to Israelis in need throughout the country.
Based on these numbers, it appears that Leket Israel is only rescuing 1%-2% of the food available. Assuming that our partners in food rescue are collecting five times what Leket is doing, that is still only 5% of the available food going to where it is desperately needed most. While at first glance, this may seem disheartening, it really serves as a challenge for us to do better, to go further. However, this is not a challenge that Leket Israel can achieve alone. With 700,000 tons of viable produce to be rescued, even increasing our goals from 16,000 tons to 100,000 tons will still not enable us to be as effective as we need to be. This has to be a national challenge that includes the support of the government. In many other countries, governments have set up initiatives to encourage food rescue and food donation including tax benefits and SNAP programs. Unfortunately, with the exception of very few occasions, the Israeli government is lagging behind the rest of the world. This means that although Leket Israel is making great strides in food rescue, without government involvement we will continue to be at a disadvantage.
Nevertheless, there is hope for improvement. This year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection will be financially supporting Leket Israel with our 2019 Food Waste and Rescue Report. Additionally, we are in the process of developing a food rescue and food waste reduction plan with other organizations along with the Ministry of Economy and the Prime Minister’s Office. With this initiative, which is being led by Leket Israel, and external pressures such as the UN SDG 12.3 and 5.0, we will hopefully begin to see increased government support and movement in the reduction of waste and an increase in food rescue in Israel, all within Leket’s vision and mission. In order to achieve government involvement we enhanced our marketing team and hired a Government Relations Coordinator that has the correct knowledge and networking. We have already begun to see results.
In the meantime, we will continue to lead the safe, effective and efficient collection and distribution of surplus nutritious food in Israel, to those who need it, to the best of our capability and continue to push forward and increase our KPIs until we are able to fulfill our vision of rescuing all surplus food available.