In the United States, we throw away nearly half of all the food we produce while 1 in 7 Americans are food insecure. To put it into other words, we produce enough food to feed 2 entire American populations, yet 50 million Americans are food insecure. To get your head wrapped around the issue give my TEDX talk a watch.
The top priority to ending food waste isn’t simply donating the food, because if all the food was donated then it would just have to be thrown out elsewhere. We have way more food than we can eat. However donation is an important part of ending food insecurity for 50 million Americans, as well as eliminating the massive environmental issues of food waste.
But when discussing donation by grocery stores, I hear a few of the same basic arguments or hesitations against it. The fact is that those arguments and hesitations are totally null. Grocery stores are protected from liability by TheGood Samaritan Food Donation Act. This act was passed in 1996 and effectively waives these stores of any liability, should someone get sick from the food they donate. A University of Arkansas School of law study shows that not a single lawsuit has ever been filed against a grocery store, restaurant, or caterer that that has donated food to a nonprofit. Although a large percentage of stores site fear of liability as their reason for not donating food, they truly are protected and history shows that these fears are unnecessary.
Beyond that, thousands of food rescue programs exist across the United States and many of them will actually pick up this excess food at the store. In this article, I highlight some of the incredible programs across the United States that partner with grocery stores. It doesn’t end there though, many of these programs also do gleaning, which is the harvesting of excess food in the fields, as well a rescue food from restaurants, and from school kitchens and cafeterias. I’ve included a video for each of these food rescue programs and their website is linked in the title.
Please share this with any grocery store, restaurant, or caterer that you’d like to encourage to donate, as well as anyone out there who thinks that these places can’t donate their food. If you have any doubt that the solutions to food waste exist, I hope you’ll feel otherwise after watching these videos! Let’s end hunger and food waste!