Closed restaurants, canceled events, and more meals at home mean more perfectly good food going to waste. You may have seen the photos or read stories of crops being destroyed or gallons of milk being dumped.
Food waste in our food system is nothing new. Food waste is a billion-pound problem that takes a serious toll on our environment. But we’re doing something about it.
Every year, Feeding America rescues food and distributes it to food banks. During the pandemic, we increased our work with grocery stores, restaurants, farmers, and other businesses to prevent food waste and rescued 4 billion pounds of food.
Here are a few stories of how the Feeding America network of food banks fought food waste during the pandemic:
Hope for farmers in Hawaii
When the COVID pandemic reached Hawaii in the Spring of 2020, family farms were hit hard. For Fanny Gan and her son Tony Wong Cam, help for their 20-year-old farm came from an unlikely source – their local food bank. To help more of their neighbors facing hunger, Hawaii Foodbank partnered with 19 local farms to provide fresh food for their programs. That relationship meant the crops at the family’s farm, Huang’s Green Leaf Products, were destined for plates rather than the landfill and that all 35 farm employees could keep working.
Turning challenges into care
Many local farmers rely on farmers' markets to find new customers. To keep the community safe during the pandemic, many farmers' markets closed – including the Pearl Farmers Market in San Antonio. Rather than sending farmers home with unsold produce, the market connected farmers with the San Antonio Food Bank so the food could reach families facing hunger.
Chips for champions
Last year Golden Harvest Food Bank served a unique lunch – a sandwich, apple, and a side of chips with a backstory. After the Master’s golf tournament was canceled, food for
the event could have been thrown away. Instead, the Augusta National Golf Club
worked with Golden Harvest to rescue 50,000 bags of chips and 2,000 pounds of produce, bread, and dairy. That food was used to create thousands of meals for our neighbors struggling due to the pandemic.
Inspired to get involved with food rescue?
Are you a farmer, resturant, or business? Check out MealConnect, a convient and free way to donate surplus food.
Are you a community member looking to donate food? Learn more about the best ways to donate food to your local food bank.