Food is about buiiding your community, your tribe, your family and the deeper hunger to be connected to each other to be loved and needed says Roger Egger. The power of food is what Egger digs and he shares how he came to dig the power of food. The kitchen is a beautiful bad ass machine of love and opportunity he points out. Egger’s twin objects are feed people and help create job opportunities in the process. I caught up with him at BiteSV, a food and technology conference held in Santa Clara (June 5-7,2015).
Egger is an activist, nonprofit leader and the founder of DC Central Kitchen, one of the first community kitchens in America. He is now starting a new project in California called L.A. Kitchen to help tackle the issue of senior hunger. He is teaming up with AARP Foundation that is reportedly committed a million dollar for this latest project.
In this interview he talks about the power of food and kitchen in our lives. Egger sounds almost poetic when he talks about food and the power of the kitchen in helping build communities and empower people. Don’t waste food is his mantra. America wastes about 30 to 40 % of food that is produced he says. Egger worked on that concept of how not to waste food for the last 25 years.
Growing up Egger heard leaders talk about real change and he wanted to be part of it. He ran right clubs and found music was an amazing Trojan Horse. You could get people reluctant to talk about equality and race to dance to those same ideas if it was put to music he says. Food and music are the same he says. He is using food as a Trojan horse to feed and help change people’s attitude towards food, hunger and food waste.
From music Egger went on to organize DC Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization. This is an organized central kitchen,where they collected food from various restaurants and feed people. They got about 2 tonnes of food everyday that helped make about 5,000 meals 7 days a week. They produced 30 milllion meals over a course of 20 plus years. During the interiew he underscores a couple of times how these meals were made from food that would have otherwise been thrown away.
Besides DC Central Kitchen, Egger helped create Campus Kitchen, which is is now in 40 different campuses. The idea of using a cafeteria in a small college to teach kids about food and cooking was wildly appealing to Egger.
Egger is now gearing up to work on creating healthy meals for seniors. He is the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen and wants to help tackle senior hunger challenge. Hunger is going to be a real challenge for many seniors in the coming years he adds. Just like what he was able to do for DC Kitchen, he he wants to get fruits and vegetables that would go to waste from Ventura and Central Valley and create meals. He plans to work with celebrities in Los Angele with his mission to address senior hunger.