!!!!!!!!! I’m really excited for today’s post. But first, a question. My initial question was going to be “Have you ever let food go to waste?”, but then I thought that’s silly because of course you have—we all have. My new question is: how often do you find yourself throwing perfectly good food away, and have you thought of ways to reduce your own personal food waste? Kind of deep, I know, but it’s an important issue and one that we need to discuss.
I’m partnering with 412 Food Rescue throughout 2017 to talk to you guys about food waste and ways you can reduce it. This subject is near and dear to my heart because—and I don’t love admitting this—but it’s nearly impossible for food bloggers to not waste food from time to time. I wouldn’t say just food bloggers either, but rather anyone who works with food on a day-to-day basis.
412 Food Rescue is a Pittsburgh-based organization that aims to reduce food waste and they do so specifically by collecting unused food from businesses and individuals and delivering it to people and places that need it most, like nursing homes and food pantries. The unused food is healthy and fresh—it’s simply that a business may have a surplus of food and are therefore unable to sell it all.
A few facts about food waste that might surprise you:
-40% of the food produced gets wasted, while 1 in 7 people go hungry
-Food production uses 10% of the energy budget, 50% of the land and 80% of all fresh water consumed in the United States
-Over 97% of food waste generated ends up in the landfill
A few weeks ago, I took a ride on the 412 Food Rescue truck to get a feel for what the rescuing process is like. The driver’s name was Leland, and I could tell right away he had a passion for food and sustainability. Our first stop of the day was at a nearby Trader Joe’s, where the staff had already set aside their excess food for us to pick up and load into the truck. Once the truck was full of food, we drove to various locations such as a nursing home and a food kitchen to donate the food to individuals who seemed genuinely excited to be receiving perfectly good food.
It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it? Trader Joe’s made an effort to not let their food to go waste by partnering with 412 Food Rescue, and then the organization took the food and gave it to businesses and people who will eat it up, rather than letting it go to waste. According to the organization, they’re able to rescue any quantity of food, as long as it has been produced in a commercial kitchen rather than a private home, i.e. if I have an unopened bag of celery that I’m just unable to use, they’ll take it. Pretty cool, huh?
Though this is a local organization, there's a good chance your city has a food rescue program, too. Just search for it on Google and find ways you can reduce food waste and/or volunteer!
If you ARE local to the Pittsburgh area, be sure to download the 412 Food Rescue app here for iPhone and here for Android and of course follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you’re local to Pittsburgh and are interested in volunteering, you can find out more information here.