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Kansas City nonprofit 'Kanbe's Market' gives purpose to imperfect foods

Kanbes sorting
Posted at 6:28 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 19:28:17-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Trucks full of produce pallets traveled to and from one Kansas City, Missouri, food distributor Tuesday morning to pick up food they would have sent to a landfill.

“At least to me, it says that they may be a little bit too picky, or they may be throwing out stuff that could still be given to the people,” said Anakin Batres, lead warehouse associate at Kanbe’s Markets.

The fruits and vegetables with scuffs, dents and bruises are sorted after arriving at the Kanbe’s Markets facility.

There are four paths for the rescued produce:

“It all kind of has value one way or another and we don’t waste any of it,” Batres said. “[Retailers] end up throwing away or putting into a landfill and lot of stuff that could still be used by people.”

Kanbe’s has rescued almost 600,000 pounds of food intended for a landfill this year.

One of their partner organizations, Cross-Lines, provides a shopping experience for residents of Wyandotte County.

Some of the produce Kanbe’s Markets saves is on full display when you walk in their doors.

“We use it and eat it — it’s all fresh,” said shopper Joan Gustin. “I don’t understand why they would get rid of it.”

Windy Thompson shopped at Cross-Lines on Tuesday afternoon in search of some Thanksgiving staples for more than a dozen family members who will sit around her table this week.

This is a blessing for us,” she said. “It can always be used.”

If you would like to volunteer for Kanbe’s to make connections like these, you can sign up for a sorting shift or donate online.