The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

May 18, 2020 by  
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Farmers are burying onions, destroying tomatoes and grinding up heads of lettuce to return to the soil. Dairy workers are dumping milk. These images of food destruction have horrified Americans during the pandemic . Farmers shouldn’t have to destroy the crops they’ve poured their money, energy, time and strength into. Hungry people shouldn’t witness the destruction of food that they could cook for their families. But farmers and organizations are working to save this food and bring it to those in need. COVID-19 has hurt people in many ways, but the food supply chain has been hit especially hard. Since restaurants, hotels, schools and cruise ships have shut down, farmers have lost about 40% of their customer base on average. Some farms have lost their main outlets. For example, RC Hatton Farms in Florida has had to disk — that is, grind up and recycle into the soil — hundreds of acres of cabbage since the crop has lost its future as KFC slaw. Related: How to volunteer during COVID-19 Meanwhile, with the U.S. unemployment rate stretching toward 15% , more Americans could make use of those crops. The question is, how can the food supply chains be rerouted before all of the vegetables and milk spoil? Worldwide food insecurity may double this year because of COVID-19. In relatively affluent America, people are waiting in line for hours to get to food pantries. Fortunately, the world is full of clever and helpful people. From individuals to large organizations, people are devising ways to redistribute food to those who need it. From farms to food banks Food banks are nonprofit organizations that store food donated from retailers, restaurants, grocery stores and individuals. This food is then distributed to food pantries, where people can take home food to eat. Food pantries provide millions of free meals per year. With their restaurant and institutional clients closed by COVID-19, more farmers are trying to donate crops straight to food banks. But donation doesn’t come free. While most farmers would vastly prefer to donate their vegetables than to let them rot in fields, those crops don’t harvest themselves. Nor do they pack themselves for shipping or drive to the nearest food bank. Some states are working hard to facilitate getting crops to the people. At the end of April, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $3.64 million expansion to the state’s Farm to Family program. By the end of the year, he expects this campaign to reach $15 million. The Farm to Family program is a partnership between the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Association of Food Banks. The USDA has approved redirecting $2 million in unused Specialty Crop Block Grant funds to the California Association of Food Banks. This will help cover costs of picking, packing and transporting the produce to food banks. “Putting food on the table during this pandemic is hard for families on the brink,” Newsom said in a press release. “It’s in that spirit that we’re expanding our Farm to Family program while also working to connect low-income families with vital resources and financial support. We thank our farmers for stepping up to donate fresh produce to our food banks . And we want families struggling to access food to know we have your backs.” In New Mexico, the state chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) launched its own Farm to Foodbank program. The group will fund farmers to continue producing organic produce, which will be routed to food pantries. AFSC is also helping farmers buy supplies, such as seeds, masks, gloves and irrigation systems. In return, the farmers sign contracts promising produce to community members suffering from food insecurity. For example, farmers at Acoma Pueblo requested seeds and promised to donate a part of their crops to the senior center. Help from private companies Some companies are also assisting in moving surplus crops to food banks. Florida-based Publix Super Markets has long been donating food to Feeding America’s member food banks and other nonprofits. In the last 10 years, Publix has donated about $2 billion worth of food, or 480 million pounds. Now, the supermarket chain is stepping up its efforts and buying unsold fresh milk and produce from Florida and regional producers and donating these goods to Feeding America food banks. “As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Todd Jones, chief executive officer of Publix, told NPR . Other supermarket chains have announced large monetary donations to food banks during the pandemic, including $50 million from Albertsons. Kroger Co. set up a $10 million Emergency COVID-19 Response Fund. To celebrate Earth Day , Natural Grocers donated $50,000 in gift cards to food banks. Individual giving Some farmers have taken direct action to get their crops to families. Idaho potato farmer Ryan Cranney invited the public to help themselves to his millions of unsold potatoes. “At first I thought we’d have maybe 20 people,” Cranney said in an interview . He was amazed when thousands of people drove to his town, with a population of 700, and hauled away potatoes. “We saw people from as far away as Las Vegas, which is an 8-hour drive from here,” he said. Of course, most of us don’t have millions of potatoes to spare. But we can still help food banks. In better times, food banks appreciate shelf-stable foods like peanut butter and tomato paste. But right now, the best thing you can do as an individual is to give money. Feeding America, the biggest hunger relief organization in the U.S, has about 200 member food banks. If you’re able to spare a few dollars, you can donate to its COVID-19 Response Fund . Via CBS 8 , Santa Fe New Mexican and Politico Images via Philippe Collard , Hai Nguyen , U.S. Department of Agriculture and Dennis Sparks

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The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

May 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

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Farmers are burying onions, destroying tomatoes and grinding up heads of lettuce to return to the soil. Dairy workers are dumping milk. These images of food destruction have horrified Americans during the pandemic . Farmers shouldn’t have to destroy the crops they’ve poured their money, energy, time and strength into. Hungry people shouldn’t witness the destruction of food that they could cook for their families. But farmers and organizations are working to save this food and bring it to those in need. COVID-19 has hurt people in many ways, but the food supply chain has been hit especially hard. Since restaurants, hotels, schools and cruise ships have shut down, farmers have lost about 40% of their customer base on average. Some farms have lost their main outlets. For example, RC Hatton Farms in Florida has had to disk — that is, grind up and recycle into the soil — hundreds of acres of cabbage since the crop has lost its future as KFC slaw. Related: How to volunteer during COVID-19 Meanwhile, with the U.S. unemployment rate stretching toward 15% , more Americans could make use of those crops. The question is, how can the food supply chains be rerouted before all of the vegetables and milk spoil? Worldwide food insecurity may double this year because of COVID-19. In relatively affluent America, people are waiting in line for hours to get to food pantries. Fortunately, the world is full of clever and helpful people. From individuals to large organizations, people are devising ways to redistribute food to those who need it. From farms to food banks Food banks are nonprofit organizations that store food donated from retailers, restaurants, grocery stores and individuals. This food is then distributed to food pantries, where people can take home food to eat. Food pantries provide millions of free meals per year. With their restaurant and institutional clients closed by COVID-19, more farmers are trying to donate crops straight to food banks. But donation doesn’t come free. While most farmers would vastly prefer to donate their vegetables than to let them rot in fields, those crops don’t harvest themselves. Nor do they pack themselves for shipping or drive to the nearest food bank. Some states are working hard to facilitate getting crops to the people. At the end of April, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $3.64 million expansion to the state’s Farm to Family program. By the end of the year, he expects this campaign to reach $15 million. The Farm to Family program is a partnership between the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Association of Food Banks. The USDA has approved redirecting $2 million in unused Specialty Crop Block Grant funds to the California Association of Food Banks. This will help cover costs of picking, packing and transporting the produce to food banks. “Putting food on the table during this pandemic is hard for families on the brink,” Newsom said in a press release. “It’s in that spirit that we’re expanding our Farm to Family program while also working to connect low-income families with vital resources and financial support. We thank our farmers for stepping up to donate fresh produce to our food banks . And we want families struggling to access food to know we have your backs.” In New Mexico, the state chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) launched its own Farm to Foodbank program. The group will fund farmers to continue producing organic produce, which will be routed to food pantries. AFSC is also helping farmers buy supplies, such as seeds, masks, gloves and irrigation systems. In return, the farmers sign contracts promising produce to community members suffering from food insecurity. For example, farmers at Acoma Pueblo requested seeds and promised to donate a part of their crops to the senior center. Help from private companies Some companies are also assisting in moving surplus crops to food banks. Florida-based Publix Super Markets has long been donating food to Feeding America’s member food banks and other nonprofits. In the last 10 years, Publix has donated about $2 billion worth of food, or 480 million pounds. Now, the supermarket chain is stepping up its efforts and buying unsold fresh milk and produce from Florida and regional producers and donating these goods to Feeding America food banks. “As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Todd Jones, chief executive officer of Publix, told NPR . Other supermarket chains have announced large monetary donations to food banks during the pandemic, including $50 million from Albertsons. Kroger Co. set up a $10 million Emergency COVID-19 Response Fund. To celebrate Earth Day , Natural Grocers donated $50,000 in gift cards to food banks. Individual giving Some farmers have taken direct action to get their crops to families. Idaho potato farmer Ryan Cranney invited the public to help themselves to his millions of unsold potatoes. “At first I thought we’d have maybe 20 people,” Cranney said in an interview . He was amazed when thousands of people drove to his town, with a population of 700, and hauled away potatoes. “We saw people from as far away as Las Vegas, which is an 8-hour drive from here,” he said. Of course, most of us don’t have millions of potatoes to spare. But we can still help food banks. In better times, food banks appreciate shelf-stable foods like peanut butter and tomato paste. But right now, the best thing you can do as an individual is to give money. Feeding America, the biggest hunger relief organization in the U.S, has about 200 member food banks. If you’re able to spare a few dollars, you can donate to its COVID-19 Response Fund . Via CBS 8 , Santa Fe New Mexican and Politico Images via Philippe Collard , Hai Nguyen , U.S. Department of Agriculture and Dennis Sparks

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The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

UK supermarket tests packaging-free initiative

July 22, 2019 by  
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Bringing reusable bags to stores is now second nature to many shoppers, but will they bring their own containers, too? British supermarket chain Waitrose will find out during an 11-week trial in its Oxford store called Waitrose Unpacked. Customers are encouraged to take refillable containers to restock on options such as a choice of four types of beer and wines, detergent, coffee and 28 dry products including cereals, lentils and pastas. Other unpacked concepts simply eliminate plastic — such as 160 loose vegetable and fruit products, and flowers and plants wrapped in 100% recyclable craft paper rather than plastic. Waitrose also offers a frozen pick and mix station, where customers can choose their own blends of cherries, pineapple, blueberries and other chilly fruits. Related: Sustainable toiletries packaged in soap aim to eliminate single-use plastics Waitrose launched its Unpacked initiative in response to customers requesting more sustainable ways to shop. “This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different,” Waitrose declared in a press release. Unpacked customers will also benefit from lower prices, since shoppers often pay for excess packaging they don’t even want. The BBC reported that produce in the supermarket’s refill stations would be up to 15 percent cheaper and frozen fruit would also be less expensive. For a £5 deposit, shoppers can load their groceries into a borrowed box from Waitrose to take home. When they return the box, the supermarket refunds their money. Waitrose will continue to offer food in its regular packaging, which will provide a useful control group for the unpacked experiment. The trial ends August 18. We hope the verdict is a win for sustainability. +Waitrose Image via Waitrose

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UK supermarket tests packaging-free initiative

Cultivating a Sustainable Palm Oil Future

March 11, 2019 by  
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Palm oil and its derivates have become ubiquitous ingredients in consumer products, with the oil appearing in about half of all packaged goods sold in the supermarket. The palm oil supply chain is complex, facing challenges linked to environmental protection, human rights, economics in developing countries, and international trade. How can companies take meaningful steps to responsibly address these issues in the face of increasing demand for palm oil?

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Cultivating a Sustainable Palm Oil Future

A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat

November 6, 2018 by  
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A new report on food shopping in the U.K. shows that one in eight Britons is now vegetarian or vegan, and another 21 percent identify as flexitarians. This means that about a third of U.K. consumers have deliberately reduced or eliminated meat from their diets, and it underlines a revolution in the eating habits of U.K. citizens. Vegetarians have a diet that eliminates meat, poultry and fish, while vegans eat a plant-based diet and completely avoid all animal products. Flexitarians eat a largely vegetable-based diet and just occasionally supplement it with meat . Related: Look out, meat industry — flexitarianism is on the rise The report comes from the supermarket chain Waitrose, which studied the food choices of Britons across all British supermarket chains. The study shows that people are thinking about how they can individually counter climate change , and avoiding meat and dairy products seems to be the single biggest way that you can reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Waitrose’s report comes from a poll of 2,000 adults who shop a variety of retailers, plus research of millions of transactions in stores and online. The report found the most likely age range to make the switch to veganism is 18 to 34. “It’s extremely encouraging to learn how many Britons are choosing to reduce their consumption of animal products,” Nick Palmer, the head of Compassion in World Farming U.K., told The Guardian . Palmer added that science shows the healthiest diet is plant-heavy, and when you eat less meat, fish, eggs and dairy, you can help animals , people and the planet. The Vegan Society claimed that the number of vegans in the U.K. has increased 400 percent in the last four years, from 150,000 to 600,000. Last May, Waitrose became the first U.K. supermarket to put dedicated vegan sections in its stores, plus it also launched a line of vegan and vegetarian ready-to-eat meals. Vegan dining has also gone mainstream in the U.K., with many chains increasing their non-meat and non-dairy options. Some restaurants have also created menus dedicated to vegans, as more and more people discover just how amazing vegan food can taste. + Waitrose Via The Guardian Image via Mittmac

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A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat

Where Does My Trash Go?

March 23, 2017 by  
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How many times have you personally thought about the items you’ve thrown away throughout the day? How many produce nets or twist ties during your supermarket runs? How many plastic coverings and bags in a frozen meal? How many tossed…

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Where Does My Trash Go?

Belgian supermarket unveils plan to sell food grown on their own rooftop garden

October 6, 2016 by  
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A Belgian supermarket has unveiled plans to sell produce that will be about as local as it gets. The Boondael branch of the Delhaize supermarket chain in Ixelles, Belgium plans to start selling vegetables grown in a garden and greenhouse on the roof of their building starting in the summer of 2017. 320 square meters of rooftop space, or around 3,444 square feet, will be devoted to growing produce. Half of that space will be set aside for a greenhouse and half will allow the store to cultivate vegetables in open air. When the weather doesn’t permit use of the open air space, the store can continue growing produce in the greenhouse. The produce grow on the supermarket’s rooftop will be sold at a cheaper price than the organic produce they offer. Related: ‘Kinetic’ rooftop garden uses pallets and plants to create the illusion of movement Although ” in theory ” the produce they grow could be described as organic, technically the produce won’t receive the organic label as it is “not cultivated directly in natural soil but on a rooftop,” according to the supermarket. Delhaize hopes schools and the community will get in on the action through visits and participation. Brussels Minister for the Environment Céline Fremault told The Brussels Times, “Developing healthy, quality vegetables, based upon short cycles, is one of the challenges for the Brussels region…If everyone embraces the idea, as Delhaize has done, we will attain our target of 30 percent of fruit and vegetable production through urban agriculture, way before 2035, as is currently planned.” If all goes as planned, Delhaize will be the ” first food store in Belgium ” to grow their own produce on their rooftop. The pilot project will help Delhaize evaluate how the idea works – they don’t yet know how much product they’ll be able to grow – and if a rooftop garden can be implemented at other stores. Via RTBF and The Brussels Times Images via Delhaize and Pixabay

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Belgian supermarket unveils plan to sell food grown on their own rooftop garden

14-year-old girl convinces major British grocery to stop selling caged hen eggs

July 26, 2016 by  
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14-year-old Lucy Gavaghan of England is on a mission to stop the sale of eggs from caged hens. She convinced major British company Tesco to agree to end the sales of “caged eggs” by 2025, and isn’t finished yet. She’s now targeting British companies Asda and Morrisons, and if you want to help you can sign her newest petition here . Gavaghan worked for a few years to stop the sales of caged eggs by writing letters to politicians and supermarkets, but felt that no one was listening. She knew there would be others in the world who, like her, also wanted to stop the sales of eggs from caged hens, so in February 2016, she started a Change.org petition . In total, 280,278 people signed the petition. Related: Kid sisters raise $800,000 with origami to dig water wells around the world Gavaghan met with Tesco’s head of agriculture in May. She said after the meeting, she didn’t really think they would change their policies, but this month finally received a call. Tesco said they’d ” stop selling caged eggs by 2025 .” While the European Union banned putting hens inside battery cages in 2012, the industry began to use “enriched cages” instead. But Gavaghan says the hens still don’t have enough space in those cages – only around the dimensions of an A4 paper (that’s around 8 by 12 inches). Gavaghan said in her first petition, “I have five hens myself, two of them are ex-commercial barn hens and one of them once lived in commercial colony cages. They are amazing animals to be around. Keeping my own hens and knowing their past has made me determined to end caged and barn farming…These methods of egg farming are cruel, unnatural, and inhumane.” After her success with Tesco, Gavaghan plans to ensure they keep their word and is now targeting other grocery stores that still sell caged eggs, Asda and Morrisons . About a week ago she started another Change.org petition, and has already racked up 176,697 supporters. You can add your name to the petition here . + End the sale of eggs from caged hens in Morrison’s and Asda Via The Telegraph Images via Lucy Gavaghan ( 1 , 2 )

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14-year-old girl convinces major British grocery to stop selling caged hen eggs

Scientists discover traces of air breathed by Earths very first animals

July 26, 2016 by  
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A literal breath of fresh air from the time of Earth’s first animals was recently found, extracted, and analyzed by University of Aberdeen scientists. The discovery of atmospheric gas trapped in a sample of halite shows that a breathable atmosphere was around long before many scientists previously thought. The study , published in the journal Geology , details the analysis of an 815 million year old sample of halite, or rock salt. Oxygen measurements were taken from the traces of gases found in the material, surprising the researchers with a level of 10.3 to 13.4 percent of the atmosphere (for comparison, Earth’s modern oxygen content is 20.9 percent). Related: Scientists found oxygen in a galaxy 13.1 billion light years away Many studies had pegged the first breathable atmosphere occurring much later, yet the discovery sets the date of the first possible animals breathing Earth’s air back much further. Professor John Parnell of the university said, “What is especially significant in this study is that we actually discovered a real atmosphere sample, where previous estimates have been made using indirect modeling methods.” The finding was made possible through a collaboration between the US, Canada, France, UK, Australia, and China. Via Phys.org Images via Pexels , Wikimedia

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Scientists discover traces of air breathed by Earths very first animals

The Best Source Of Information On The Food You Eat

July 31, 2015 by  
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How good is the food that you’re buying at the supermarket? Don’t think about just calorie counts or ingredients, but consider the way that your food was sourced, transported or manufactured. Chances are, you don’t know the nitty gritty details…

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The Best Source Of Information On The Food You Eat

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