By Miranda Johnson,

With the coronavirus infecting over 182,000 people in Illinois thus far since the COVID-19 pandemic began, businesses throughout the state have had to adapt to the rapidly changing state of our world. Now that the state has entered Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois reopening plan, a new round of decision-making has to happen to decide how to carry on operations while keeping customers and employees safe. Unfortunately, our We Compost Partners are affected by the pandemic as well, so we checked in with Food for Thought in Lincolnwood.

As a business that primarily relies on catering services, it’s understandably difficult to remain open during the pandemic, as the prevalence of larger events has declined substantially. For Food for Thought, they have had to go “on hold until companies come back to office [and] travel returns.” With a reliance on larger events, the only real option is to wait until Illinois reaches Phase 5, and a vaccine is created to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Many businesses have been working to increase their sanitation protocols and to make sure that the health and safety of both the customer and the employee are highly prioritized. Foodservice providers have a leg up over others since handwashing and cleanliness are already extremely important, and Food for Thought is in a great position since they already “have conveniently located hand sinks and washing stations.” Liz also explained to me that they will be “moving to temperature taking for all staff and guests to our buildings while [requiring] masks to be worn” as well.

While everyone affected by the coronavirus faces unique challenges and hardships, lots of organizations and individuals have worked to find the positives in the situation. For Food for Thought, the “business is based on people gathering so we are taking the time to assess all internal systems, marking and sales initiatives.” While providing an opportunity for some to slow down and reassess practices, the coronavirus pandemic has also provided learning experiences. From FFT’s perspective, they believe they’ve learned about the “vulnerability of our society and the business community.” 

Food for Thought has been a We Compost Partner since 2014, and composting with Collective Resource is high on their priority list as it reaffirms their commitment to protecting the environment and making a difference for our planet. Their business plans have to remain on hold until people in the community feel safe enough to host events, and Illinois sees a full reopening of museums and other venue spaces. But they want to reaffirm the importance of caring for our environment as we battle COVID-19. It’s important to Food for Thought that the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition continues to educate the community, consumers, and the marketplace on the importance of composting for our planet’s health, and how people from all industries can contribute to the diversion of food scraps from the landfill. Food for Thought “understand[s] the importance [of composting] and it helps when our clients and customers continue to grow their knowledge of the subject.”