Food rescue, also called food recovery, is the practice of safely retrieving edible food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to those in need.
The recovered food is perfectly edible, but often not sellable. Products that are at or past their “sell by” date or are imperfect in any way – a bruised apple, day old bread – are donated by grocery stores, food vendors, restaurants, and farmers markets. Other times, the food is unblemished, but restaurants may have made or ordered too much.
Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food produced for consumption, which comes at an annual cost of at least $100,000 million. Meanwhile, more than one-tenth of Americans do not have enough to eat.
In most cases, the rescued food is being saved from being thrown into the dumpster and, ultimately, the landfill. Food recovered on farms is kept from being plowed under. On farms, the donations often must be harvested, or gleaned, by volunteers. The Society of St. Andrew is one nonprofit organization that gleans fields with volunteers.
Nationwide, there are numerous food rescue organizations that pick up and deliver food in refrigerated trucks. Most are members of Feeding America, formally America's Second Harvest. Recipient agencies serve people of low and no income.
Founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, in November 2007, the independent nonprofit organization Food Rescue brings together more than 500 volunteers who donate approximately 90 minutes of their time, one night each month, to rescue unserved restaurant food that otherwise would have been discarded and deliver it to their local food pantries for distribution to those in need. Since November 2007, Food Rescue has scheduled an estimated retail value of $1 million in food rescues annually around the country. The rapidly growing organization currently has chapters in Indianapolis, Indiana; Greenwood, Indiana; Muncie, Indiana; Greenville, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Ft. Worth, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Paul, Minnesota; Naples, New York; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Norfolk, Virginia and Reston, Virginia and continually is expanding into other areas.
In North Carolina, The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle has been rescuing food since 1989. As of 2007, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle rescues more than 5 million pounds (2,300 tonnes) of food annually and distributes that food to approximately 200 programs including shelters, soup kitchens, pantries, and housing authority neighborhoods. Volunteers also prepare grocery bags of fresh fruits, vegetables and breads to deliver door to door to seniors on fixed incomes and low income single parent households. Other nationally recognized food rescue organizations include, City Harvest, D.C. Central Kitchen, and Philabundance.
In Australia, OzHarvest was launched in November 2004.
- ↑ Wasted Food
- ↑ The Society of St. Andrew
- ↑ Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act
- ↑ Inter-Faith Food Shuttle