MORE than 760,000 people in cook county are food insecure.


EACH YEAR, COOK COUNTY PRODUCES 830,640 tons of food "waste".


Let's Fix both problems at Once.

What is the Urban Shepherd Project?

The Urban Shepherd Project is a Nonprofit organization focused on connecting culled "food waste" with individuals in food insecure communities of Chicago.


While the basic functionality of the Urban Shepherd Project is simple – connecting a surplus of food with a surplus of need for food – we aim for the organization to be a self-sustaining arm of empowerment within the food insecure communities it supports. 

To do this, we will hire individuals from the communities in which we are working to function as account managers with the partner retailers. The Urban Shepherd Project will train these individuals, teaching them the ins and outs of supply chain, logistics, and account management. 

How Does the Urban shepherd project work?

One of the main contributing factors of food insecurity is access to nutritious, whole foods (i.e. fresh fruit and vegetables). The Urban Shepherd Project aims to develop a direct delivery system to families in food insecure communities, attacking the issue of food access head on. 

This delivery system will be underpinned by a network of partner retailers who donate their culled food to the Urban Shepherd Project with the intent that the food will be redistributed to a pilot group of individuals in food insecure communities.


They do not. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was signed on October 1, 1996 and encourages donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organization* for distribution to individuals in need. The act does the following:

  • Protects you from liability when you donate to a non-profit organization;
  • Protects you from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the recipient;
  • Standardizes donor liability exposure. You or your legal counsel do not need to investigate liability laws in 50 states; and
  • Sets a floor of "gross negligence" or intentional misconduct for persons who donate grocery products. According to the new law, gross negligence is defined as "voluntary and conscious conduct by a person with knowledge (at the time of conduct) that the conduct is likely to be harmful to the health or well-being of another person."

You can read the full text of that act here.

*The Urban Shepherd Project is in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) Non profit corporation status.

What are the developmental goals of the urban shepherd project?

The first goal of the Urban Shepherd project is to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Following this approval, the Urban Shepherd Project will undergo an extensive discovery phase with the goals of:

  • Validating hypotheses about food insecurity and food waste In Chicago
  • Acquiring a pilot group of families in a food insecure community of Chicago
  • Acquiring a pilot grocery retail partner 
  • Developing target user groups with the goal of forming a deep understanding for the psychographics of food insecurity
  • Developing foundational data capture and analysis practices from our pilot as part of our approach