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Sustainable food recovery 2-3-12


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Presentation on Sustainable Food Recovery programs, and the intersection of 4 key themes - sustainability, social mission, innovation, and partnerships - at the Conference on Hunger at Delaware Valley …

Presentation on Sustainable Food Recovery programs, and the intersection of 4 key themes - sustainability, social mission, innovation, and partnerships - at the Conference on Hunger at Delaware Valley College on 2-3-12

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  • 1. Hope of the Harvest: Hunger No Longer Sustainable Food Recovery Programs: Redirecting Excess Food to the Needy through Innovation and Creativity Steven M. Finn Managing Director, ResponsEcology
  • 2. Hope of the Harvest: Hunger No LongerSustainable Food Recovery Programs:Redirecting Excess Food to the Needy through Innovation and Creativity ResponsEcology
  • 3. Meaningful StatisticsAn estimated 50% of food lost from field to fork(Lundqvist, SIWI Policy Brief, 2008)The UN estimates that one third of all food produced annually –1.3 billion tons – is lost or wasted throughout the food supplychain(Gustavson, et al., , 2011)Worldwide, 925 million hungry people in 2010(…1 in 6 Americans are food insecure ResponsEcology
  • 4. Food Waste in Context• 1.3 billion tons wasted annually globally• Empire State building wt: 365,000 tons• Translation?• In the United States:• Daily food waste would fill the Rose Bowl• Bloom, American Wasteland, 2010 ResponsEcology
  • 5. Causes of Food Waste - Farm to Table:• Imperfect weather• Pests• Damage from machinery• Blemishes/irregular sizes• Improper handling• Improper temperature control• Compliance with regulations (sell-by dates)• Conversion of raw food into other products• Overstocking/incorrect stock rotations• Package and label damage• Excessive portions• Over-preparation and expanded menu choices• Cooking losses and spillage(Kantor, et al., 1997, ResponsEcology
  • 6. The Challenge• We have excess food which goes to waste ( a social and environmental problem), and…• We have a great need for the nutrients in that wasted food (“quality” calories to support a healthy lifestyle)We can’t afford the waste….innovative solutionsare needed ResponsEcology
  • 7. The Role of Innovation and Creativity• We need programs to reduce food waste by capturing the excess and efficiently redirecting it to the needy, and they must be lasting• That’s where innovation and creativity come into play… – Connect the dots – Create partnerships – Solve logistical challenges – Success can breed success ResponsEcology
  • 8. My Efforts in our Region• Volunteered to help a food bank• Surveyed farmers in tri-county area• Reviewed logistical issues for gleaning and donation programs• Contacted farmers; built relationships• Developed pilot projects• Developed recommendations for charitable food organizations ResponsEcology
  • 9. Survey Results• 40% of respondents stated they periodically have excess amounts of nutritious produce (not just one-time)• That excess occurs throughout the growing season• 27% of respondents stated they would consider donating/selling their excess to a food bank• 33% of respondents would allow the food bank to arrange a gleaning crew if no liability to them• 60% of respondents have donated to food banks and pantries in the past• 33% of respondents have greenhouse operations (i.e. potential for year-round donations) ResponsEcology
  • 10. Logistical issues/potential barriers• Farmers are busy• You get one shot• Establish/nurture relationship• Accommodate the farmer’s schedule• Communicate the win/win (tax deductions, good press, social mission, etc.)• Adhere to all commitments; reliability is key• Timeliness is critical• Overcome liability concerns• Strong organizational efforts needed ResponsEcology
  • 11. A Vertically Integrated Approach• Kingsbury Farm (VT) – Vermont Food Bank - a more innovative approach• 22 acre farm – partnership• VTFB leases to farm couple• Farmers commit to producing 30,000 lbs. of fresh produce for the VTFB’s network• Farmers have access to land, buildings, equipment; keep all revenue from sales of produce beyond the 30,000 lb. commitment ResponsEcology
  • 12. Lessons from Kingsbury Farm• Incentive to produce efficiently• Social mission• Manage land in a sustainable way (for future farmers)• Met with food pantries, produce crops which are: – Highly desired by constituents – High in nutrition content – Long-lasting ResponsEcology
  • 13. More lessons from Kingsbury Farm• Little food waste; culled crops used• Farmers communicate with food shelves; produce and harvest according to what they can handle (plan production for efficiency)• Train interns• Triple bottom line in action ResponsEcology
  • 14. Linking Farmers, Community, and Food Organizations• Establish relationships; help farmers• Website to promote linkage• Build on successful pilots• Increase Partnerships• Eliminate redundancy – promote local• Recognize the power of the individual• Recognition and Reward ResponsEcology
  • 15. A Challenge to GraduatesEnvironmentalist Paul Hawken:You will have to “figure out what it means to bea human being on earth at a time when everyliving system is declining, and the rate of declineis accelerating.”Hawken, 2009 Commencement Address ResponsEcology
  • 16. Questions?• For additional information, please contact Steven M. Finn at ResponsEcology