| by Jason Warburg
Alan Lovewell MAIEP ’10 accepted a $100,000 check from Chase Bank on September 25 after his company, Real Good Fish, was one of 20 winners—out of 30,000 plus applicants—in the 2015 Chase Mission Main Street Grant competition. The grant will support a unique initiative aimed at providing healthy, popular lunches made from local seafood for public school students.
As a student in the Institute’s InterNational Environmental Policy program, Alan was saddened to learn that most locals consumed fish imported from China and that local fishermen were having a hard time earning a living. After graduating, he cofounded Real Good Fish, a member-supported fishery connecting local consumers directly with fresh, sustainable catch.
From its humble beginnings with 146 members in 2012, Real Good Fish has grown to over 1,000 members. Early in the process, Alan and his team discovered that fishermen were not finding a market for a large portion of their catch. Most of them fish for black cod but catch up 100,000 pounds per year of other species that have traditionally been discarded because no one would buy them. “That’s a huge inefficiency,” says Alan, who found that many of the fish being thrown away were actually very tasty and nutritious.
Real Good Fish then partnered with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District to set up a program called Bay2Tray, addressing two problems at once by creating a market for the “unmarketable” fish and providing school children with affordable and healthy protein for their lunches. The fish tacos and other meals made possible through this program are very popular among students.
The $100,000 check Alan accepted will help Real Good Fish expand this program further. “We feel incredibly lucky and grateful,” says Alan. “This recognition means a lot to our business and our community.”
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