Building a sustainable food system
Building environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important for the long-term health of our planet, and creating a sustainable food system is a key part of that. Ozarks Food Harvest—and food banks across the country—are constantly doing everything they can to help craft that system and reduce food waste as much as possible.
In fact, food banks were originally created to help prevent food waste. Before food banks existed, grocery stores and food producers were throwing perfectly edible food into the garbage because they lacked storage space or weren’t able to get the food out before it expired. Food banks allow food to be stored properly for people to receive later—similar to the way banks store funds for future use.
America has more than enough food to feed everyone. But according to a study by Feeding America, nearly half of the food grown, processed and transported in the United States goes to waste.
So what is Ozarks Food Harvest doing to reduce food waste in southwest Missouri? The Food Bank strives to keep as much food as possible out of landfills. Perishable donations, such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products, are processed as soon as they arrive in the warehouse. After these items are inspected for quality and packed by volunteers, they are distributed to hunger-relief partners across The Food Bank’s 28-county service area. When families struggling with hunger receive these items, they are perfectly safe to eat—and they aren’t wasting away in a landfill.
Food donations that don’t meet Ozarks Food Harvest’s inspection guidelines for food safety are often donated to area hog farmers. This saves money on livestock feed, so these donations are greatly appreciated by our farm partners. This process is just another way to keep food out of the landfill to build a sustainable food system in the Ozarks.
This fiscal year, The Food Bank’s goal is to save 700 semi-truck loads of food from being wasted. Through the Retail Pickup Program, Ozarks Food Harvest coordinates product donation pickups with more than 120 retailers in the area every single week. These donations account for roughly six million pounds that are distributed each year. The food is rescued before it goes to waste and delivered to hunger relief partners to struggling families.
Reducing food waste helps us take a big step toward ending hunger in the Ozarks, and your financial support of The Food Bank is essential to reaching this goal and keeping our fleet of trucks on the road. To learn more about food rescue or the Retail Pickup Program, give Bart a call. Thanks for helping us create a sustainable food system in the Ozarks.