Past Initiatives

2016-2017 Work Teams

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.

For-Profit Partnerships Work Team

Chair: Pat Rogers, perogers (at);

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

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.

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.

Food Farmacy Work Team

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.


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.

15-Acre Initiative Work Team

Will Carey, Chair  tbhgm (at)
Work Team Members:
Barbara Todd
Caitlyn Peacock
Pat Rogers

To grow sustainable gardens for purposes of educating and feeding the community.

Update: MOU is in process of being signed so the work can continue on the property.

The work team continues to prepare the ground for farm use.  They have established relationships with locals and have a distribution base in place with a local food pantry, as well as a tie-in to the local hospital’s nutrition and dietary staff.  The team has requested a grant to fund removal of any dangerous structures and materials to ensure the area is safe for volunteers.

Update: March 14, 2016

There is a sign out front now with the address.  Next week –a mailbox  will be put in.  Will be asking for help with a flyer in the future.  Problem with the rain has caused additional ponds on the property in addition to the existing ponds and most of the roads are flooded right now.  Zoning is agricultural so that will not be a problem and we’re now friendly with Juarez Farms right next to us, and a tractor has been located who’s willing to come up and work the property.

First Update:

In communication with Pastor Wendell Smith local faith based connection and I have visited his food pantry.

Stopped by and introduced myself to the Farmers market folks as well as the local tractor, Feed and Grain operation.

I am in contact with Andy Firk of Bamboo Groves in Arcadia, he has been and continues to be an expert in growing native and other large scale growing operations.

My Solar installer will be making a trip to Hardee Farms soon.
Still have to test soil and water and ordinances.
Waiting on MOU from Barbara Todd.
Waiting on possible funding prior to contacting the county.

2014-2015 Work Teams


Overarching Goal: To provide a collaborative framework for improving transportation issues surrounding food.

– Consider how people access food and develop strategies to remove barriers for those who do not currently have access.

– Consider how emergency food is transported and identify ways to improve the food distribution network. 

Objectives: Food Distribution (inventory of emergency good system)
– Existing food distribution network
– Potential analyses
– Opportunities for efficiencies 

Access for Food Insecure
– Food deserts
– Transit access
– Immobile populations

Questions to consider: Food Distribution 
How is emergency food distributed now? 
What resources are available?
What are the limiting factors to improved emergency food distribution?
What types of analyses would be useful to understand it (e.g., mapping food flow by pounds/meals from
warehouse to pantries)?
How can emergency food distribution be improved?

Food Access – Food Deserts:
Where are the food deserts, and who is affected?

How are food deserts currently being addressed?
How can food deserts be better mitigated?


Food Access: – Transit Access
What areas have transit access, and what areas do not?
How many people do not have adequate access to transit?
Where are the concentrations of food insecure people lacking transit access?
What are the best strategies to improve transit access?


Food Access: – Immobile Populations
Where are these populations? 
What are their barriers?
What are the current approaches and resources to ensure immobilized populations can get access to food?
How can our communities better reach immobile populations?

Healthy Living

Lauri Wright, Chair
Work Team Members:
Mark Trujillo
Mary Keith
Caitlyn Peacock


Researching causes of hunger and food insufficiency in the Tampa Bay area.
Determining services most needed by our citizens facing food insufficiency.
Project Description
Research causes of hunger and food insufficiency in the Tampa Bay area.
Determine services most needed by our citizens facing food insufficiency.
Research best practices from around the nation having success addressing hunger and food insufficiency. Work
with agencies and organizations who serve people facing hunger in implementing new and innovative strategies.
Goals for 2014
Goal 1:
Conduct consumer surveys to determine types of services most needed by the people we serve.  Surveys to be
conducted at selected food pantries/food banks and soup kitchens.
Goal 2: Research best practices from around the country and work with agencies to implement.
Work Group Members
Scott Bedosian/Christine Long – Metropolitan Ministries
Jerry Coleman – Religious Community Services Inc.
Michael Herrara – Shepherd Center of Tarpon Springs
Christine Miller – United Food bank of Plant City
Kara Moore – United Way Suncoast
Pat Rogers – Community Volunteer
Cliff Smith – City of St. Petersburg
Jane Walker – Daystar

2013 Work Teams

Community Gardens

Use seedlings and compost to roll out “farms” throughout the bay area

Will Carey: Tampa Bay Harvest 

One Challenge: Access to fresh healthy food 

One Solution: Build a community garden

1. Research sustainable options 
2. Reach out to experts – Whitwam Organics
3. Inspect potential sites offered by Network Partners
4  Develop site proposals
5. Submits proposal for gardens
6. Funding provided by United Way
7. Garden construction begins

Use seedlings and compost to roll out “farms” throughout the bay area  

Community Garden Project Summary

Community Garden Agreement
Community Garden Budget

Distribution Network for Timely Movement of Product


Goal: Educate community on hunger
Goal: Education community on seasonal produce

Nan Jensen and Mary Keith

Goal: Educate community on hunger

Identify audience(s)
Determine key messages
Prioritize workgroup tasks

Goal: Education community on seasonal produce

Why you should eat it – Nutrition
How to buy and handle it
How to cook it – Recipes

Central Kitchen

Can Do – Year Round Supply of Shelf Stable Food

Year round sustainable supply of food, On-going monthly food drives, Adopt a food bank/pantry…

Cliff Smith: Pinellas Health & Human Services

– Year round sustainable supply of food
– On-going monthly food drives
– Employees donate 1 can/item of nonperishable food per month
– Adopt a food bank/pantry
– Designate “Can-Do” person to coordinate monthly food drives
– Set-up collection containers in high traffic area(s)
– Designate a day or week as “Can-Do” on company calendar
– Hold monthly promotions
– Complete registration form
– Select food bank/pantry you want to sponsor
– Make arrangements to deliver or have food picked up monthly

It’s that easy!

Coordinated Distribution of Data Portal

Database of information not available before to community
Creation of “Wikipedia” for those in need

Pat Rogers: Feeding America Tampa bay

Network has pooled food provision data

Database of information not available before to community
Creation of “Wikipedia” for those in need

Network is utilizing info to further target provision gaps for needy populations

Next Steps: 
Identify barriers to food access and implement solutions 
Develop portal for easy access and multiple communication use