Leah Lizarondo is the CEO and founder of Food Rescue Hero, a social enterprise with a technology, logistics and civic engagement model that aims to fight hunger and promote sustainability by preventing perfectly good food from entering the waste stream and directly distributing to organizations that benefit those who are food insecure. Founded in 2015, Food Rescue Hero is one of the fastest-growing food recovery organizations in the U.S. Creating the infrastructure for national retailers, Food Rescue Hero has prevented over 7 million pounds of food from going to waste via technology that mobilizes over 8,000 drivers in 5 cities –food rescue heroes–the largest volunteer food transport network. Food Rescue Hero’s innovative distribution model bridges the last mile and significantly impacts access and food security as well as mitigates food waste’s impact on the environment. By redirecting surplus food about to go to waste, Food Rescue Hero responds to SDG Target 12.3 – to halve per capita food waste by 2030, as well as redirects perfectly good food to organizations that serve those who are food insecure, responding to SDG 2. Food waste is one of the major sources of carbon emissions and wastes significant natural resources. By redirecting food from going to landfill, the organization also helps mitigate climate change, responding to SDG 13.
Set to expand globally, Leah’s work at Food Rescue Hero has been featured in national media including NPR, Fast Company, FoodTank, Martha Stewart Living, Food & Wine, Saveur, Organic Life, Bust Magazine, Redbook, Success Magazine and Civil Eats. In April 2014, she gave the TEDx Talk “Why the Farm Is Not Getting to the Table.” Leah was named in FoodTank‘s “17 Food Heroes to Inspire Us in 2017″ and in 2018 she was named “Pittsburgher of the Year” by Pittsburgh City Paper. Additionally, 412 Food Rescue was recognized as Pittsburgh Tech 50’s “StartUp of the Year” in 2018 and received the Carnegie Science Award for Information Technology in 2019 – making it the first social enterprise to receive both awards.
Leah received her graduate degree in Public Policy & Technology from Carnegie Mellon University. She serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at the Block Center for Technology & Society at Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She was born and raised in the Philippines and currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.