September 25, 2022

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Simply The Best Food

Kanbe’s Markets Ugly Dinner series aims to reduce food waste

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Kanbe’s Markets Ugly Dinner Series Challenges restaurants to reduce food waste.

Courtesy of Kanbe’s Markets

Sara Osborn is used to cooking with local produce from local farmers, but soon, the chef from the Campground will be taking that commitment to sustainability and reducing food waste to the next level. She’s preparing a menu made from “ugly produce” as part of a dinner series fundraiser put on by Kanbe’s Markets.

“Ugly produce” are fruits and vegetables that often get discarded from grocery stores due to small blemishes, despite being perfectly edible.

The Ugly Dinner Series hosted by local restaurants aims to raise awareness about food waste and what we as consumers can do to waste less food by propping up these fruits and vegetables that are often thrown away instead of used.

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A dish from Kanbe’s Market’s first Ugly Dinner event in April at Chewology Gyoza Bar. Kanbe’s Markets

Chewology Gyoza Bar hosted the first of the series earlier this month, and The Campground, located at 1531 Genessee St. in the West Bottoms, will host the second dinner on June 8.

Osborn describes The Campground’s menu as American cuisine with a nostalgic flare, bringing flavors back from childhood.

She said she looks forward to highlighting the different flavors in the produce and putting a modern twist on some traditional favorites.

What is Kanbe’s Markets?

Kanbe’s Markets’ mission is to make fresh produce accessible to underserved communities in Kansas City by providing local gas stations and convenience stores with imperfect produce donated by wholesalers and grocery stores.

In 2021 alone, Kanbe’s Markets redirected 218,000 pounds of food from landfills into the community.

How many dinners will there be?

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A dish from Kanbe’s Markets first Ugly Dinner event hosted at Chewology Gyoza Bar. Courtesy of Kanbe’s Markets

“We are working with six different restaurants this year. They’ll feature all of our ugly fruits and vegetables. So a lot of it will be seasonal produce depending on what we get in on those donated market pallets,” said Ali Curbow, Kanbe’s Markets Marketing Manager.

The event series will run from April until October. The upcoming dinners will include The Campground, Fox and Pearl in July, Hotel Kansas City in August, Heirloom Bakery & Hearth in September and Affäre in October.

“So we’re hoping that each of our partners comes up with a creative storytelling moment behind their recipe creations too,” Curbow said.

How to get tickets?

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Kanbe’s Markets first Ugly Dinner event hosted at Chewology Gyoza Bar in April 2022. Courtesy of Kanbe’s Markets

Tickets for the Ugly Dinner at the Campground on June 8 can be purchased here. A table for two or bar seating for two are $250.

All of the ticket proceeds will go towards Kanbe’s Markets’ efforts to redirect food to communities in need before it becomes waste.

What else can Kansas City residents do to reduce food waste?

One way to reduce food waste is to start composting. There are a number of local organizations that help individuals compost their food waste, including Compost Collective KC, Food Cycle KC and Compost Connection. Here is The Star’s in-depth guide on what you need to know to start composting.

You can also support Kanbe’s Markets mission by attending Kanbe’s Fest. This outdoor music festival will be on Sunday, May 1 at 3119 Terrace St from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The event costs $10 per person, and kids under 5 years old get in free.

There will be performances from The Black Creatures and Rebecca Folsom, a silent auction, food trucks and activities for the kids. All the proceeds will go towards supporting Kanbe’s Markets efforts to enhance food justice in Kansas City.

If you are interested in getting more involved, Kanbe’s Markets welcomes people to volunteer with its food redirection program. Learn more by visiting the website.

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