Food Waste Knot to be Untied

Longtime Wasted Food reader and Binghamton, N.Y., food recovery mensch Dan Livingston recently emailed to say he had a bit of a dilemma. I’ll let him explain it in his own words and hopefully we can help him out:

I’ve frequented the Wasted Food blog since starting my Americorps position at the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) over nine-months ago. For me, working with a large-scale food-recovery program (we recovered over a million pounds of food last year alone, and distributed it to over 75 agencies), the blog has been a way to put some of the things I see going on around me into a national and international context. Supplemental to the research assistance and inspiration I’ve been getting from the blog, recently I’ve noticed more collaboration going on through the blog, and thus I come to you with a serious food waste quagmire.

photo by Leo Reynolds via creative commonsAfter reading the Produce Project pages, I set out to leverage local wholesalers and retailers into donating their culled produce. This has accounted for more than 10,000 pounds a month, with the most significant portion coming from the Maines Paper and Food Service Warehouse in Conklin, N.Y. just a few miles away.

As it works out, we pick up about a ton of produce from the warehouse three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), and we distribute it to soup kitchen cooks who pick it up directly from the warehouse (on Tuesday and Friday). Now, when this new produce started coming in, the cooks were astounded that it had been thrown away so regularly in the past.

This is where you come in. With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, we’re going to be closed on Friday, and are probably going to end up throwing away a lot of food as a result. There are some rural food give-aways that normally manage these large quantities of food when we can’t distribute in our normal fashion, but they too will be closed.

It seems to me, that our only option is to send the food to our local pig farmer, and maybe recover some of that value next year in the form of manure for our gardens. I hate to throw it to the pigs though, but because the culled produce is generally so unstable, it won’t make it the five days to the next soup-kitchen distribution. So, I put it to you fine folks: are there any creative ways to distribute a ton of fresh-ish produce to the hungry (and I don’t mean the hungry pigs)?

Peace and Love,


This entry was posted in Food Recovery. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.