Waste Not; Want Not - USDA Reports on Food Waste
Waste Not; Want Not Waste not; want not — that’s what our mothers always said. So you can imagine our surprise when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s released a study this month showing that about 31 percent — or 133 billion pounds — of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. As that sinks in, remember that more than 2.6 million Pennsylvanians qualify for food assistance programs, according to an American Community Survey. We’re seeing that food insecurity is on the rise and we’re seeing that food waste is on the rise, too. Doesn’t it seem like the solution to one is the also the solution to the other? What’s good for taste and what’s just waste? The younger you pushing around the broccoli on your plate would be told by your mother that there are less fortunate people who would appreciate your broccoli. “So give it to them,” you said. It isn’t as easy as that, but that’s the right idea. The USDA study doesn’t differentiate between appropriate waste and salvageable waste. While we should be taking measures to cut back on it, food waste that’s unfit to be donated (like your pushed-around broccoli, foods that have been served, foods in hospital settings) do belong in the trash. Foods that are close to expiration at grocery stores, or prepared foods that can’t be sold as fresh the next day but are still fresh by most people’s standards, are the foods we want to do something about! Let’s talk solutions. The JDK Group, a catering and event planning organization in Camp Hill, Pa., has a relationship established with Harrisburg-based Channels Food Rescue where prepared foods from the previous day’s events are available to Channels to be served and distributed to their food bank patrons. “It is important that we give back to the community that has supported our business for the past 27 years” said Jennifer Delaye, CEO of The JDK Group. “I’ve been supporting Channels Food Rescue since it was founded. At every JDK event, we offer our clients the opportunity to donate their leftover food and each year we are amazed by the amount of food donated. Food is the core of our business and the JDK team is honored to be able to give back to those in need. Channels truly is an amazing organization!” JDK is known for their five-star catering and culinary creations, so it goes without saying that Channels and its patrons more than appreciate those donation days. While there are criteria to follow for these donations, any restaurant, vendor or store can contact us for more information. We would love to see more relationships like this built with our members who can accommodate it. Join the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge In June 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a collaborative effort, the U.S. Food Recovery Challenge, to raise awareness of the environmental, health and nutrition issues created by food waste and the potential for helping communities. Current and new EPA Food Recovery Challenge participants can easily join the U.S. Food Waste Challenge as well, simply by contacting EPA's helpline at 800.EPA.WISE (800.372.9473) or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Last year’s winners include a few familiar names. Congratulations to the Shoprite of
Roxborough in Philadelphia, national winner of the Food, Drug and Convenience Store category, and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, national winner of the Sports and Entertainment category. Let us know if you have any creative ways of saving food waste or if you’re interested in partnering with a local food bank.