Food Waste: Tremendous progress, but more to be done

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July 10, 2017 By: Rob Zeaske - Chief Executive Officer Category: SHH News

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 to find one near you.


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Submitted by Patti at: July 17, 2017
So happy to partner with Second Harvest with all of our food waste at work . They are an amazing company doing amazing work . We would have thrown all of this quality food into the dumpster before . Thank you for all you do . I manage a deli in a grocery store .
Submitted by Dori at: July 11, 2017
Excellent! Makes me even more proud to be a Second Harvest volunteer..

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