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Feed People First


A few weeks ago we talked a bit about the less than perfect produce that is naturally occurring in our gardens. Although it may not be perfect, it is edible and nutritious!

Last weekend at the Farmer's Market I was pleased to see large boxes of "ugly" green beans being sold for $10. Hmm…a whole box for $10 or $4/lb otherwise. Sure there would be some sorting involved and my worms would also benefit but I love saving money almost as much as I love fresh veggies.

If you find that you've over planted your vegetable garden or have a quantity of food leftover from a weekend gathering - the compost or waste bin should not be the first stop.  Start checking with local food banks, soup kitchens, youth/senior center to see if they would be able to use the excess produce or prepared food.  Did you know that on average a family of four wastes enough food annually to provide another person over 3,000 calories of food per day?

Although the benefits seem greater for those who have large quantities of food to donate but every bit helps.  Some benefits to those who do a little bit of checking around:

  • Donated food can help feed people rather than filling the landfill.  Looking for ways to help others?
  • In the event money is your biggest motivator - save money on waste hauling - moving food from the less than perfect but edible classification to "trash" is costly.
  • Tax credit is available to retailers, restaurants and food manufacturers who donate to non-profit charitable organizations.

Liability is often a concern that arises when a discussion turns toward food donation-particularly for prepared foods. There's good news, the Good Samaritan Act was created to encourage donations of food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations for distribution. Prepared food donated in good faith is covered under this act and you, the donor, are released from any liability. A small caveat is any food that has been part of a food bar or buffet line cannot be donated. However, that extra pan of lasagna never left the kitchen, it is fit for donation.

The Environmental Protection Agency has created the Food Recovery Challenge to encourage food donation and reduce food waste.  See how people are responding to the Challenge.

There are food recovery opportunities around nearly every corner.  Be warned, once you start looking you may not be able to stop!

Additional Reading

http://www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/resources/donations.htm

http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/foodwaste/fd-donate.htm

http://epa.gov/waste/conserve/smm/foodrecovery/index.htm

http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/foodwaste/index.htm



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