Member-led Work Teams


To find out more about the projects the teams are working on and to get involved, join us the 2nd Thursday of the month 9:30 a.m., United Way Suncoast Building, 5201 N. Kennedy, Suite 600, Tampa, Florida 33609.

Currently Working On…


Cliff Smith, Chair
clifford.smith (at)

Caitlyn Peacock
Mark Trujillo, UF/IFAS
Rosy Bailey, In Season Pro, Food Systems
Shannon Fernandez

The Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger has received a donation of Earthbox planters from the Earthbox Research Center in Ellenton Florida. We have also received a grant from the University of Florida IFAS Family Nutrition Program to construct other DIY Garden2Go boxes that function similarly to the Earthbox. The Earthbox planter and the DIY version are sub-irrigation watering systems ideal for growing vegetables and herbs in a small space.


Select 7 initial sites which will distribute 41 boxes. Each recipient will receive a Garden2Go box that contains the soil, fertilizer, dolomite and plants of their choice. The recipients of the boxes have agreed to provide feedback on what work well, any problems they encountered, and suggestions for the next phase.

The sites chosen: Lealman and Asian Neighborhood Family Center, High Point Neighborhood Family Center, Meals on Wheels Tamp, St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Taste It-Neighborly Care Network, Good Samaritan Mission, Florida Hospital Carrolwood, Food as Medicine Program.

The Work Team has completed Phase I and is working on a comprehensive report on the project.  In Phase II, Garden2Go boxes will be distributed during October 2016 (sites are being finalized), and the team will look into the possibility of buying and refurbishing used boxes.  The goals for the project are to add gardeners; focus on healthy food access and nutrition; and enable the disabled, seniors, and disadvantaged persons to enjoy the benefits of gardening.

The team is wrapping up the 2015-2016 growing season. Initially, 47 Garden2Go boxes were distributed. Gulfcoast Jewish Family Services distributed an additional 30 boxes to their clients. The team will be completing a year-end report the end of May. They are making plans for next season and looking for grant funding to expand the program. Next meeting is scheduled for June 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM at Gulfcoast Jewish Family Services.

Have 3 sites fully distributed and gone through initial process, all in Pinellas: St Pete Free Clinic, Lealman neighborhood family center, and Hyde Point Neighborhood Family Center.  All are going pretty well.  Have been using text message communications between participants; don’t have a percentage right now but at least half are corresponding with us by text and despite language barriers, we have had people respond with pictures of their boxes.  Looking forward to doing refill for Hyde Point on 25th and St Pete Free Clinic on 29th.  Over in Tampa, seeing the initial boxes get distributed at Meals on Wheels this coming week.  Launching Meals on Wheels program which is a little different; take the box and plants to the client and plant them with the client, a little Gardening 101, with a Master Gardener going on the truck to give the lesson.  Will start with four boxes directly to the clients and then keep a box for the staff on-site.  That will launch next Wednesday.  Total participants by this summer will probably be around 70-100 people with Earthboxes, so that will give us a good sense to see that the pilot is over, what have we learned, draw some conclusions.  (Taste It team) Did 5 sites in Pinellas at senior congregant dining sites.  The boxes are being held at the sites and are cared for by a couple of individuals; did a nutrition lesson in Taste It around it and it’s going well.  Many of the seniors are interested in having a smaller version of the box where they can garden and we’ve been collecting that information.

Healthy Corner Store Work Team

Jan Baskin, Chair Email:  jan.baskin (at) ahss (dot) org

Allie Marron
Bonnie Watson
Caitlyn Peacock
Jennifer Webb
Lucy Barr
Mark Trujillo
Pat Rogers

The purpose of the Healthy Corner Store Work Team is to help eradicate food deserts and eliminate the lack of access to healthy foods in low income/low access communities through the establishment of healthy corner stores in the Tampa Bay area.

  • Conduct research to determine communities of greatest need
  • Research other similar initiatives in the Tampa Bay area for collaboration and innovation
  • Develop strategy for initiating at least one healthy corner store in Hillsborough County in 2016 that can be attributed to the efforts of the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, working with Pinellas and Pasco to expand their efforts, where and as needed.
  • Align with appropriate partners, including agencies, government and the private sector, to establish healthy corner stores.

First meeting will be on March 18th at United Way Suncoast office.

Food Recovery Work Team

Chair: Whitney Fung Email: whitneyfung (at)

Caitlin Higgins Joy
Caitlyn Peacock
Eleanor Saunders
Lee Ann Carr
Libby Hopkins
Mark Trujllo
Pat Rogers
Shaina Bent
Shannon Fernandez

Recover excess food from restaurants, bakeries, and retail locations in the Tampa Bay Area by launching an app in partnership with Waste No Food to be used on smart phones, with corresponding website, to connect restaurants with local 501(c)(3) charities who can distribute the food to their clients.  The donor will be able to post a description of the excess food, including quantity and a pickup window.  The first recipient to claim the food will arrange for a driver trained in safe food handling practices to pick it up within that window.  If no recipient claims the food, research the possibility of enlisting farmers or compost facilities to use the excess food for animal feed or compost.

Launch pilot with approximately 3 donors in downtown St. Petersburg.  Ensure that app is functioning efficiently and that there are enough qualifying charities to receive the excess food of further donors.

Further goals:

Recruit further donors and launch full version of app.

Numerous charities have signed up to be recipients in the Waste No Food Tampa Bay app program.  The team is now focusing on signing up restaurants, farms, and corner stores to be donors.  Sweetwater Organic Community Farm recently donated several hundred pounds of fresh produce, which was picked up by Meals on Wheels Tampa, in our biggest donation ever.

Following a successful pilot in Gulfport, the team is now focusing on signing up more charity recipients in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties before signing up more donors, to ensure that every donation will be picked up.  They are finalizing brochures to distribute to potential donors and working on window decals for donors to post once they have signed up.

Met with the recipient agencies to begin the training process. HCC (Shirley Hamilton) is vetting the recipients to ensure they are properly trained in food handling, etc. The restaurants in Gulfport have been contacted. We met with the Mayor of Gulfport to explain the program and they are supporting the food recovery efforts.

Food Recycling Work Team

Eve Spengler, Chair, Email:  eve (at) baymulch (dot) com

Ace Padian
Cliff Smith
Lee Ann Carr
Malory Foster

Keywords: Legislation, Lobbying, Connecting, Partnering, Recycling, Transforming, Educating, Growing, Restoring, Respecting the Triple Bottom Line: People Planet Profit


Welcome to the TBNEH Food Recycling & Repurposing Work Team! We are welcoming members to step up now and join our newly formed team.

Food is never garbage. Food is never waste. Food is a valuable material. Food does not belong in Landfills. Food does not belong in Waste Incinerators.

Food is a living resource with enormous intrinsic value at each and every stage in its lifecycle. Thanks to the ages -old practice of composting, combined with the newest emerging technology, no matter how rotten or spoiled, food is still alive and retains its essential nutrients and minerals as it becomes processed and transformed into USDA Certified Organic Soil using the Catalyst MSAP method (Modified Static Aerobic Pile) at Bay Mulch Inc Organics Recycling Division.

Bay Mulch Organics Recycling Division is a 42-acre farm in Hillsborough County, and since we first began commercially recycling food in March of 2014, we have already diverted 16.6 Million pounds of Vegetative Food Material away from landfills and incinerators, and converted it into nutrient-rich USDA Certified Organic Soil, which is also Florida Certified free of harmful nematodes. Our soil is called “Bio-Natural Soil” and it has many benefits, such as strengthening root systems in plants, restoring the healthy natural balance of nutrients and minerals in soil, making it possible for plants to grow with far less water required, and it is perfect for year-round use, even at the times of the blackout, when fertilizers and pesticides are prohibited to protect our precious Florida aquifer. Bio-Natural Soil (BNS) contains NO chemicals, toxins or synthetic ingredients.

In the United States today, 40% of food that originates in restaurants and supermarkets, ends up in Landfills! Over half of the States in the USA have Food Waste Diversion Mandates and Bans, but not Florida.

The TBNEH Food Recycling Work Team will be focused on education, research and community outreach with the goal of changing the Tampa City Ordinance and the Florida State Statute in favor of Food Recycling, and with the goal of partnering with local Food Banks to collect and recycle unused Food.

Current law penalizes and punishes those who want to Recycle Food. Our Work Team wants to make an addition to the law that will list “VEGETATIVE FOOD MATERIAL” right alongside plastic, glass, metal and paper as a “Recoverable Material.”

On December 17th 2015, at approximately 10:30am, Eve presented her case to the Tampa City Council to make an addition to the City Ordinance in favor of Food Recycling. Every single City Council Member agreed with Eve’s presentation and voted “Yes” unanimously in favor of changing the existing Ordinance. Unfortunately, later in the day, an unexpected and untimely rebuttal was made by a lawyer acting on behalf of the Tampa Solid Waste Department, saying that she felt they had the right to burn vegetative food waste! The City Council responded by delaying the final decision, and sending the topic to a City Council Working Group, which will take place in February. Thus, thanks to the short-sighted and anti-environmental stance of the Tampa Solid Waste Department, the topic of Food Recycling is currently tied up in Committee.

The TBNEH Food Recycling Working Group will have 3 Primary Projects in 2016, and possibly more, as members get involved and new issues arise:

  • Changing Local and State Laws in Favor of Food Recycling
  • Partnering with local Food Banks to Recycle Unusable Food
  • Teaching responsible, sustainable and ethical uses of Food.

Viable uses for Leftover Food Scraps include: 1) Converting Food into Soil 2) Repurposing as Animal Feed 3) Generating Power through use of an Anaerobic Digester, and 4) Food Pulping to create liquid plant nutrient solutions.

Unethical and environmentally unsound uses for Leftover Food Material include dumping in land-fills, and burning in incinerators called “Waste to Energy” plants (WTE’s). Fruits and Vegetables consist mainly of water (86-94% H2O) and burn at temperatures far too low to generate even a single watt of electricity; in fact they lower the temperature of the incinerator!

 SAVE THE DATE #2: Our Working Group will meet at the Bay Mulch Organics Recycling Division HQ on Saturday, February 6th at 10am at our farm located at 1603 S. Forbes Road. Plant City, FL 33566. Our Agenda will include: I. Update II. Legislative Action Plan III. Media Action Plan IV. Creating an innovative Partnership with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries, a dynamic and life-changing local food bank hub and 18-Acre Residential Program based in Riverview.

SAVE THE DATE #3: ALL TBNEH members who support Food Recycling are encouraged to attend and welcome to present their opinions during an official City Council Workshop, set for Thursday, February 26th at 9am, held on the 3rd floor of Tampa City Council Building located at 315 E Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33602.

Over 20 people attended our last TBNEH Organics Recycling farm tour!  We have school systems, both college – including Eckherdt and USF St. Pete, and elementary schools in *Hillsborough County and a food bank in Pasco/Port Richey who are all interested in recycling food with us! For the schools, we have to wait until Fall to start collections due to summer schedules.  And now we just started working closely with the FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) and we are contributing Case Studies to an important strategic document of theirs, which will collectively recommend to the Florida legislature that the State Statute be amended so that Food be added to the List of Recoverable Materials. Work team leader Eve Spengler attended the Recycle Florida Today Conference in June to help influence changes in the law in favor of food composting.  Eve also attended the Florida Food Policy Advocacy Council Meeting in Tallahassee.  The team has made many soil contributions and sales at “cost” wholesale and tax free prices to several organic growing programs in Pinellas County.  We are working to pattern a food collection program similar to the Orlando Green Works Food Program, and replicate that in many other towns, including St. Pete, Dunedin, Largo, New Port Richey and we wish…Tampa!  We will have another Food Recycling and Composting workshop on Sunday July 31st at 1pm at the Sunken Gardens in St. Pete.


Over 20 people attended our last TBNEH Organics Recycling farm tour. The team has just begun working closely with the FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) and is contributing case studies to an important strategic document of theirs, which will collectively recommend to the Florida legislature that the State Statute be amended so that Food is added to the List of Recoverable Materials.

The TBNEH Food Recycling Working Group has 3 primary projects so far in 2016:

  • Changing Local and State Laws in Favor of Food Recycling.
  • Partnering with local Food Banks to Recycle/Compost Unusable Food.
  • Teaching responsible, sustainable & ethical uses of kitchen prep scraps & leftover uneaten foods.
  • Post-Consumer Food Waste Recycling for Residents and Schools.

SAVE THE DATE: Combined FARM TOUR and WORKING GROUP MEETING at Bay Mulch Organics Recycling Division HQ on Saturday, May 28th at 10:30am, located at 1603 S. Forbes Road, Plant City, FL 33566. Our agenda will include:  I. Update II. Legislative Action Plan III. Media Action Plan IV. Schools Action Plan V. See the high tech Composting Process from unloading the truck, to making the windrows, to harvesting the finished soil. Hands on: Fill your own bag of free ORGANIC potting soil from Bay Mulch Inc.!

Priorities are legislative in the city of Tampa as well as the state of Florida because food is not included as a recyclable.  Food is not garbage; it makes great soil.  Met with the legislators in Tallahassee to talk about changing the recycling bill that identifies what is a recoverable material.  They were really positive about getting that passed this session, not having to wait until next year.  Our work team added not only pre-consumer vegetative food material, but also post-consumer vegetative food material.  Over half of the states have waste diversion bans to keep foods out of incinerators and dumps; it’s a trend globally to recognize food as a resource, not garbage.  Everyone is welcome to Bay Mulch Farm in Plant City at 10 am this Saturday to tour.

Food Farmacy

Ariel Landry, Chair, Email:  ariel.landry (at) metromin (dot) org

Casandra Hector
Charles Kutt
Eve Spengler
Lori James
Patty Jackson

The Healthy Eating Club Team will be looking at ways healthy foods can be made more accessible by overcoming the barriers to healthy foods, such as price, taste, etc., and through using the “Food is Medicine” philosophy to talk to physicians and pharmacists about prescribing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods.

We are working on reaching out to various grocery stores in food desert areas, as well as farmer’s markets to have people redeem the vouchers for healthy food prescriptions. We are growing the Functional Forum each week. It is the first Monday of the month each month from 7-9PM at Metropolitan Ministries Welcome Center, 165 E. Frances Ave., Tampa, FL 33606.  The team meets the second Thursday of every month at 11 am at the United Way Suncoast offices, just following the monthly TBNEH meeting.

The team is merging with the Veggie Rx Group from Humana Tampa Bay Health Advisory Board Bold Goal to avoid doubling efforts and to facilitate collaboration.  The team is working on the following goals: (1) Implement and grow Functional Form in Tampa; (2) Implement nutritionist in lower-income area grocery stores; (3) Create collaboration between doctors and insurance companies to prescribe healthy foods to be redeemed at various locations, potentially farmer’s markets, healthy corner stores, and/or veggie trucks.

Had first meeting on Monday; next meeting is Monday, March 14 at 12 pm at the Panera here in Tampa.  Three goals for the next year: (1) work with Humana, coupons for healthy food, etc; (2) Publix nutritionist in some stores, pilot program for them, but getting a nutritionist into stores where lower income people shop or in pantries in food deserts; (3) grow a functional forum in Tampa, a group of physicians who are growing healthy food awareness and access in the community and bringing in medical students who will be practicing in the future.  Hopefully will have those meetings at Met Ministries once a month.  Need a name for the committee that encompasses all three of those goals but separates us from the other work teams with similar names.

Pasco Work Team

Patricia Jackson, Chair   patricia.jackson (at)
Andrew Chouinard
Michelle Miller
Eve Spengler

Meals served from 2015-2016 increased by almost 500 meals a day.  The program made a profit for the first time in 2016 and it was enough to put back into the program and make a significant difference in funding.

The team is beginning work on a survey to find out what the food distribution site coordinators, workers, and/or volunteers see as the biggest needs for their clients; we are looking for gaps in assistance or services.

The team also agreed to reach out to Pasco pantries to ask them to participate in the survey for the Transportation Work Team.

Last meeting we planned to pick our project but instead we had an entertaining debate or discussion, a couple members from Pasco County Food Policy Advisory Council came in. Next meeting is next Thursday at 9:30, Rasmussen Land o Lakes camps on 54, room 108, to pick a project, everyone should come with ideas to sell or if we want to work with another already established work group.  The pilot for the summer Break Spot is actually a mobile site.


Cliff Smith, City of St. Petersburg
Vecelia Johnson, WellCare
Ace Padian, Network To End Hunger
Caitlyn Peacock, Network To End Hunger

Fed 40 is a revolutionary mobile app designed to disrupt hunger in America. The Fed 40 app is being called the food pantry of the future and has already distributed nearly 100,000 meals to children and families in need.  People looking for food assistance fill out some basic information through the app and Fed40 sends them 40 servings of tasty and nutritious meals at no cost to them.

Fed40 is looking to expand to the Tampa Bay Area with assistance from TBNEH.

Policy Work Team

Chair: Arianne Corbett (Leading Health, LLC),  arianne (at);

Members: Mark Trujillo (UF/IFAS),
Jan Baskin (Florida Hospital Carrollwood),
Whitney Fung (University of Florida),
Ericka McThenia (community volunteer),
Eve Spengler (Bay Mulch Farms),
Debra Prewitt (JWB),
Ace Padian (TBNEH),
Caitlyn Peacock (TBNEH).

Research Work Team

Jennifer Webb, Co- Chair, Email:  jenniferwebb (at) usf (dot) edu
Allie Nguyen, Co-Chair,  Email: allison.nguyen (at)

Alayne Unterberger
Allie Marron
Caitlyn Peacock
Michele Ogilvie
Ariel Landry
Elizabeth Roman

The data committee is responsible for providing assistance to the various TBNEH workgroups in their development of strategies for evaluation and measurement; maintaining the hunger map and other databases kept for the collective good; and other duties which require accessing, presenting, or developing data for collective use.

The Research Team held its Evaluation Assessment Workshop in Tampa on May 31.  The team led participants through a description of a successful evaluation of senior nutrition and emotional well-being after joining Meals on Wheels, and then worked with participants one-on-one to create an action plan for evaluating and moving their own projects forward.  Click HERE To view presentation.

Had worked last year on transportation study; regrouped a few weeks ago and we are going to reach out to other work groups to see what their assessment and evaluation needs are.  Have talked about trying to get a sense of the needs of the different committees, potentially having liaisons from different committees to come to the research group and report what they need or just be a point of contact, and get a sense of who would be interested in a training on assessment and evaluation.

Transportation Work Team

Kevin Salzer, Chair, Email:  kevinsalzer (at) gmail (dot) com

Allen Weatherilt
Ace Padian
Caitlyn Peacock
Deborah Lekenta
Lucy Barr
Shaina Bent

In partnership with the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida (USF), the Transportation Work Group will inform practical transportation solutions aimed at improved food access in the Tampa Bay (Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties). The food pantry/bank sites that are part of TBNTEH will help gather survey data from their client population. The survey will be a modified version of that used by the Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, Nevada. That particular study resulted in major policy changes that increased food access for those in need. The proposed survey for this effort will include even more transportation focused questions to further gain insight into how clients currently access emergency food sites.


Funding for this project will be partially provided through the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) at Portland State. This project entitled “Travel to Food: Transportation Barriers for the Food Insecure in Tampa Bay” fits with the NITC’s theme of safe, healthy and sustainable transportation choices to foster livable communities in the following ways:

  • Identify gaps in the transportation system for vulnerable communities
  • Lead to focused solutions to improve access to healthy food
  • Lead to added sustainable transportation options
  • Access to food is an essential precursor to livability

Background of the issue: The dominance of the automobile in the Southeast has impacted the urban and suburban built environment resulting in barriers to transportation access. The vulnerability of the food insecure makes them an indicator population of the larger transportation system; mobility and housing location options are limited for this population. The grocery industry’s trend to larger stores and higher value inventory to maximize shelf space value has left lower income neighborhoods with fewer food retail options. This lack of food access is experienced more acutely in lower income neighborhoods where auto ownership is lower and dependence on alternative modes of transportation (e.g. transit, bike, and walking) is higher.

This research will identify the transportation barriers and challenges to accessing emergency food in the Tampa Bay area. The results of this survey will be used to more accurately focus limited resources on the food access problem. The food bank/pantries will also benefit from having more information about the client population they serve in the form of food bank/pantry specific profiles.The specific research questions this survey will answer are:

  • How far do clients travel to access food?
  • Are clients aware of the closest emergency food access site to them?
  • What modes of transportation do clients use to access emergency food sites?
  • What mobility options do clients have?

These research questions and others will be answered by implementing a survey to understand the transportation needs of clients that access emergency food in Tampa Bay. The Transportation Work Group will first develop a survey specific to Tampa Bay’s needs using the survey previously conducted by the Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, Nevada. (The results of the Three Square Food Bank unexpectedly identified that many clients were unaware that a closer food pantry was located to their home than the one they typically accessed.)


Transportation Group PDF

Working on a survey to build on the Four Square survey from Las Vegas, and gather information on how people can access pantries.  Right now we are dealing with internal university institutional review process.  Haven’t finalized the pantries to be included so it’s not too late if anyone is interested.  Will hopefully collect data relevant to whole region.  Planning to have a meeting later this month and potentially the 25th for the group and whatever pantries are involved.

Best Practices Work Team

Chair: Mark Trujillo (UF/IFAS), mt (at);

Members: Ericka McThenia (community volunteer),
Malory Foster (UF),
Arianne Corbett (Leading Health, LLC),
Whitney Fung (USF).

To determine best practices and make them available for all those in need who want to grow local and eat local food.  Measure twice, cut once.  Goal: Collect best practice repository of community food systems work in the U.S. and internationally.

For-Profit Partnerships

Chair: Pat Rogers, perogers (at);

Members: Matt Spence (Community Foundation Tampa Bay),
Andrew Chouinard (UMCM Suncoast),
Ace Padian (TBNEH),
Caitlyn Peacock (TBNEH),
Betsy Crisp.