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The O’Side Kitchen Collaborative is on a mission to provide nutritious meals to their community members most in need of food support while simultaneously using all available resources in an effort to eliminate food waste. The company has grown substantially due to the pandemic, where the need for OKC’s services have been elevated to dire levels. Executive Director Vallie Gilley and her team of dedicated collaborators are branching out from O’Side and adding another service hub in Escondido.
The O’Side Kitchen Collaborative began as a catering business which focused on zero-waste efforts by collaborating with local farms and food businesses to utilize materials. They are preservationists, diverting food from landfills and providing free meals to community members. The pandemic uncovered an immense need to repurpose food from closed restaurants and feed the most vulnerable San Diegans from hunger, and the OKC rose to the challenge.
What Now San Diego spoke with Vallie Gilley about the OKC’s new partnership with Villa Escondido. Gilley says, “We are taking over a new kitchen in a Senior Living Community. The owners of the facility reached out to us to supplement the services they provide to residents by supplying hot dinners, maybe providing meals they can keep in their freezer as well. Having access to good quality food keeps morale up, and we do it while supporting zero-waste and using diverse and organic produce.”
From residents in Senior Living Apartments, to people in quarantine unable to shop for groceries, and unhoused members of the community, Gilley says, “Everybody deserves a healthy meal.” Another level of importance within their service is their health-minded approach and ability to personalize their menus based on specific dietary needs or allergies.
The OKC plans to begin service in Escondido by November but they won’t stop there. Next they’re looking at partnerships with Jewish Family Services in San Diego, and more potential services in Poway and Fallbrook. Soon enough it won’t just be an O’Side affair, so they’ve decided to make a change in the new year to call themselves One Kitchen Collaborative but remaining OKC.