This week, Feeding America hosted the third annual Food Rescue Summit at the Liaison Capitol Hill. The event was widely attended by members of the food rescue community, who discussed and collaborated around the issue—particularly food rescue as a critical vehicle to combat hunger. Each year, 72 billion pounds of food are wasted in the United States, while 41 million people face hunger, including 13 million children. The juxtaposition of food waste and hunger was a focus of the summit.
The goal of the annual convening was to foster collaboration and drive impact among partners across the food industry who are dedicated to ensuring safe, wholesome, yet unsellable, food is rescued to feed people before being considered for alternatives.
“While you may not see it, hunger is everywhere around us—down the street, at work, on the playground, at the senior center. A commitment to food rescue helps ensure that food that otherwise would have gone to waste is getting into the hands of people struggling with hunger,” said Andy Wilson, chief development officer of Feeding America. “This week, we dug into the sources of food waste, in an effort to identify opportunities for more effective food recovery all across the food supply chain. The conversation was invaluable.”
Over two days, more than 150 attendees worked to promote collaboration and dialogue specific to food rescue and fostered discussion on solutions to reduce food waste through donation. Specifically, the conference focused on raising awareness, aligning strategies for organizations to partner in food rescue; establishing working groups; and building ongoing plans focused on collaborative initiatives that promote food rescue.
“Kroger’s purpose is to Feed the Human Spirit. We know from 134 years in the grocery business that meals matter—families who share meals together have children who do better in every aspect of their lives,” said Jessica Adelman, group vice president of corporate affairs at Kroger. “Food waste undermines food security. That is why Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste vision has a goal of ending hunger in communities we serve and eliminating waste across our company by 2025.”
“Food recovery is an important tool in combating hunger,” said Phyllis A. James, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity & Corporate Responsibility Officer at MGM Resorts. “We believe that our company and the hospitality industry as a whole can have a significant impact on food insecurity by implementing programs that allow for the safe donation of surplus banquet food to community food banks. We are hopeful that our own Surplus Banquet Food Donation program can eventually serve as a blueprint for others to follow. When we are able to safely donate food recovered to our citizens who are combating hunger, it is a win-win for everyone.”
In addition, the summit was supported by policy partner Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, who provided policy expertise and developed the conversation around state legislative opportunities.
Summit sessions and panelists covered a diverse range of topics, including food industry innovation, highlights of new rescue learnings and programs, opportunities in food policy, challenges to access for more agricultural products, gaps in food rescue research, the importance of food safety, advances in technological innovation, and creating advocates across generations.
Inspired by visionary key note speakers and open, collaborative discussions, attendees of each session walked away from the Summit with a cooperative plan to advance each organization’s individual work, as well as the larger food rescue movement, and to make progress in the mission of reducing food waste and feeding more people.
For more information on the food rescue movement visit www.foodrescuehub.org.
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.