Emperor Rudolf II of Habsburg as Vertumnus, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1590 (Skokloster Castle collection)
Did you know? Almost 2 million pounds of food were collected in 2016 and distributed free of charge to shelters, daycares, after-school programs and clinics, to name a few centers, in 12 cities in the greater Boston area. This food, which includes fresh fruits and vegetables, helped to feed around 30,000 people.
In the United States, food waste is a big problem, even though 1 in 7 Americans doesn’t have consistent access to food. An estimated 30-40% of food available for human consumption in the US goes to waste. That food loss costs over $150 billion, without taking into consideration the environmental impact of the greenhouse gas methane released from food waste in landfills.
The non-profit organization, Food For Free, is doing something about food waste. It is “bridging the gap between waste and want” … “Food For Free rescues fresh food—food that might otherwise go to waste—and distributes it within the local emergency food system where it can reach those in need.
“Through a combination of food rescue [recapturing food that might otherwise be thrown away], farming [Food For Free’s own small farm], and transportation services, we give food programs year-round access to fresh fruits and vegetables, while our [home] delivery program brings food directly to isolated seniors and people with disabilities.
“Our programs address not only short-term hunger, but obesity, diet-related disease, and other long-term health effects of food insecurity and poor nutrition. In addition, food rescue—also called salvage or gleaning—reduces food waste.”
Food For Free collects fresh and prepared foods from a number of sources, including wholesale distributors, grocery stores, farms, farmers’ markets, community supported farms, bakeries and other retailers and universities.
In addition, Food For Free picks up food from canned food drives, catered events and restaurants. The organization collects fruit, vegetables, bread and baked goods, dairy products, prepared foods and frozen meat.