As the end of the year comes to a close, Green Production Guide’s parent organization, the Producer’s Guild of America made a portion of their PGA Green budget available for a vendor grant. Demarking the success of the organization’s consistent growth and dedication to its mission to reduce poverty, Rock and Wrap it Up! (RWU) was awarded the 2015 Green Vendor Grant. During the past few years RWU has grown from a vendor to a valuable production resource by assisting films in the process of integrating food recovery programs into their catering services. Food donations benefit film and TV productions by fulfilling studio corporate social responsibility commitments, as well as providing measurable emissions reductions. Those reductions are equivalent to the amount of food mitigated from reaching landfills where it would inevitably release methane during decomposition. These statistics are easily attributed to productions’ environmental initiatives.
In order to get a better idea of what RWU does, why they do it and how studios and productions can integrate food recovery programs into their social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, PGA Green board member, Amanda Scarano Carter sat down with the founder of RWU, Syd Mandelbaum.
ASC: What does RWU do?
SM: Rock and Wrap it Up! works with TV and film productions, touring bands, educational institutions, the hospitality industry, professional sports teams and hospitals throughout North America to green their businesses, events, shows and films through food recovery. RWU encourages the recovery of food that has been prepared, but not served, to be donated to agencies fighting hunger and poverty. This tactic helps us feed hungry individuals in our communities as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food decomposition in landfills.
ASC: Why does RWU focus on food recovery?
SM: Looking at the large scheme, RWU believes the assets, whether they be food or otherwise, recovered from events, productions and conferences increase agency operating budgets and enable partner organizations to hire the specialized staff needed to attack the root causes of poverty.
ASC: Where are you located?
SM: RWU HQ is located in Cedarhurst, New York on the South Shore of Long Island.
ASC: What regions/geographical areas does RWU work in?
SM: RWU works with TV and film productions touring bands, educational institutions, the hospitality industry, professional sports teams and hospitals throughout North America.
ASC: What studios has RWU worked with?
SM: HBO, Showtime, Warner Bros., Sony, Disney, Paramount, CBS Studios, 20th Century Fox and NBCUniversal currently arrange for food recovery from their film and TV productions using RWU.
ASC: From a legal standpoint, what should productions know about donating food?
SM: All donors are protected by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Laws (Pub. L. No 104-210, 110 Stat. 3011(1996)) as long as safe food handling is used. In order to comply with USDA recovery laws and meet the logistical demands of RWU donors, all partnering agencies need a health certification, adequate refrigeration, wireless communication and reliable transportation.
ASC: How can film and television productions begin working with RWU?
SM: RWU asks that productions give approximately one week notice prior to a food recovery opportunity in order to give RWU a chance to partner the production catering services with the selected food recovering agency.
ASC: How do the program logistics play out for production partners?
SM: The process ideally goes…
- Identify a point person and contact information.
- Contact RWU National Asset Director, Jessie Plotkin.
- Daily call sheet is sent to RWU to solidify the time and location of the food pickup.
- The minimum amount of food for recovery is equivalent to 25 meals aggregated between breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is no limiting maximum amount of food that can be recovered. It is acceptable to donate prepared food as long as the food has been kept at a safe temperature (heated or cooled) until the time of donation.
- Leftover food should be wrapped into a sealed container by craft service or catering company to prepare it for travel. If using a refrigerator or freezer, food can be placed inside for pickup by RWU. In some instances, a pick up may be arranged at the time the meal is over. This requires daily communication between the production contact and RWU.
- The receiving agency will bear all transportation expenses and may have freezers they can provide the catering company (as is exemplified in the article photos).
- Short-dated items are permitted for recovery. Expired food is not accepted.
- Unused bakery items not requiring refrigeration are recoverable.
- At wrap, any unused paper and plastic service products, condiments, spices, herbs, closed cereal boxes and raw products are recoverable.
- The RWU Whole Earth Calculator mobile app can be used to report greenhouse gas emission reduction stats as well as donated meal monetary values.
ASC: Anything else you’d like to share?
SM: First off, RWU would like to thank our National Asset Director, Jessie Plotkin for all the effort she puts into each shoot, production, event and donor center to be sure as much food as possible is recovered for our partner agencies. We’d also like to thank The Producers Guild of America, Green Production Guide and all of our donors and partner agencies who have made this award possible. Since 1991, RWU has recovered more than one billion meals; and, with the support of the PGA we look forward to pushing for the next billion.
Inviting Syd Mandelbaum, and Rock and Wrap it Up! to receive this grant has been an honor for the Producer’s Guild of America and the Green Production Guide. The organization’s scalability and capacity to integrate its services into production environmental and social responsibility initiatives make it the perfect recipient of the 2015 PGA Green Vendor Grant. To begin coordinating food recovery from an event you’re involved with, please contact Jessie Plotkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more food donation information, please see the Green Production Guide’s Food Donation Information. To learn more about Green Vendor Grant opportunities, stay tuned on the Green Production Guide’s Twitter and Facebook pages.