The ReFED Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator

The Food Recovery Opportunity

Before COVID-19, up to 40 percent of perfectly good food was wasted, while one in seven Americans were identified as food insecure, illustrating an opportunity to enact systems-level change to enhance the food system, reduce waste, and ensure that food ultimately goes towards serving its highest purpose of feeding people in a dignified manner.

ReFED saw this opportunity and in the Fall of 2019 launched its Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator with support from the Walmart Foundation and in partnership with +Acumen.

The Accelerator immersed 10 nonprofit food recovery organizations in a combination of virtual curriculum and in-person ReFED Learning Labs. Its focus was on leveraging earned revenue models, technology solutions, and human-centered design to catalyze ideas and inspire actions that could help the organizations overcome challenges that have limited their ability to scale solutions to increase the amount of healthy food available to food insecure Americans.

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The 2019 ReFED Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator was generously supported by the Walmart Foundation and in partnership with +Acumen.

The ReFED Expert Network

ReFED assembled a world-class group of food business and technology executives, capital providers, and subject matter experts so serve as the Accelerator’s Expert Network.

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In the Press

How it Works

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3-Month Program

Powered by a customized virtual curriculum plus a series of in-person ReFED Learning Labs, participants will be able to: Rapidly prototype new products and services that drive mission-aligned revenue, learn how to incorporate principles of human centered design that create a more dignified and convenient experience for end beneficiaries, adopt the use of innovative technologies to increase capacity, and network with Fortune 500 food businesses, capital providers, and industry-leading technology companies.

What's on Offer

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Added Perks

Participants will have access to a range of tangible and intangible benefits, including publicity and brand exposure, access to ReFED staff and world-class mentors, as well as an invitation to the 2019 Food Waste Summit, hosted by ReFED.

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Equity-Free Funding

Each participant will be provided $25,000 and a stipend to cover travel expenses, plus an additional $100,000 awarded to the selected winner(s).

Eligibility Criteria


Are currently or expected to become US-based nonprofits in the food recovery space


Believe earned revenue models and technology solutions can help them scale significantly


Are willing to share best practices and partner with others across the nation to drive more impact


Are interested in designing solutions using a human-centered approach; ensuring more healthy food is recovered in a dignified and convenient way


Have a full-time senior leadership member willing to commit the time to actively participate in the Accelerator’s virtual curriculum and in-person ReFED Learning Labs


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Reports & Resources

Scaling Food Recovery and Hunger Relief: Learnings from ReFED’s Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator

Our new report offers guidance to the entire food system on how to support innovative food recovery organizations as they scale their work to reduce food waste and fight hunger. Includes best practices, case studies, and expert insights from a network of world-class food business and technology executives, capital providers, innovators, and subject matter experts.

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