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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Season 6 finale: 360 Eats takes leftovers from food waste to food truck

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Meet a mother-and-son duo who are reducing food waste and tackling food insecurity in northern Pinellas County.

Listen to the episode

Today we’ll meet a mother-and-son duo who are helping to reduce food waste and tackle food insecurity in Northern Pinellas County.

Ellen Macleish and her son, Cameron Macleish, are the co-founders of 360 Eats. Cameron came up with the idea in 2020 as an offshoot of his YouTube series Cooking with Trash, in which he exposed the enormity of the world’s food waste problem.

Based in Safety Harbor, the nonprofit works in four stages:

Food rescue: Local grocery stores, food distributors and other businesses donate surplus food to 360 Eats.

Cooking: The food is brought to Kitchen 24, a commercial kitchen in Oldsmar, where it gets weighed, sorted, processed and cooked. The kitchen is headed up by Ellen, a professional chef with experience at Fenway Hotel and Epicurean Hotel. She likens cooking with donated ingredients to an episode of Food Network’s Chopped.

Serving: The prepared food is loaded onto the organization’s Sustain-A-Bowl food truck, where anyone facing food insecurity is welcome to get a free meal. Diners can customize a food bowl with their choice of base, proteins and vegetables, allowing for an “elevated, dignified dining experience,” Ellen says.

Compost: Any remaining food scraps are composted and donated to local gardeners, who in turn grow more food.

In this conversation, Cameron and Ellen explain why there’s so much food waste, offer advice for reducing food waste at home and describe the benefits of volunteering with 360 Eats.

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