Food Waste: Tremendous progress, but more to be done
During a reader’s recent commentary (“My dive for good food in a Twin Cities dumpster,” Star Tribune, July 6), I found myself nodding in agreement – not because we believe dumpster diving is a good choice, but because we agree that no good food should end up in a dumpster; especially since – as the writer rightfully noted – one in 10 Minnesotans struggles with hunger.
Last year, Second Harvest Heartland recovered more than 35 million pounds of unsold, fresh food from nearly 500 grocery stores across the state including Cub Foods, Target, Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalskis, Festival Foods and more through our Retail Food Rescue program. A local network of Second Harvest Heartland facilitated partner food shelves, soup kitchens and shelters then directs 60 percent of this food to hungry neighbors who access it in the neighborhoods where they live. Along with these partners, we are delighted with the growth of this program – one of the largest in the nation. However, there are stores that still do not participate, limiting our impact and adding food waste to our environment.
One of our new initiatives is recovering prepared foods, and our initial exploration of partnerships with hotels, caterers, and restaurants is showing positive results using new technology platforms to direct leftover food to hunger programs. There is much more to be done, but we aren’t starting from scratch with this thriving rescue program.
If you or anyone you know needs immediate access to safe food, reach out to your local food shelf. Visit 2harvest.org to find one near you.