Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Commentary from the leaders of Washington's DC Central Kitchen on the growing interest in preventing food waste calls for a broader approach to the issue than that merely finding more efficient ways to redistribute food from one place to another. Simply dumping excess food at nonprofits and shelters is problematic for a number of reasons. 

First, the irregular timing and quantities of food donation means nonprofits still face ‘feast or famine’ cycles of donations that do little to improve their clients’ food security. Second, most donations are simply measured in pounds. We must consider the hierarchy of food quality, and while daily donations of leftover breads and cupcakes have their place, a donation of lean protein or fresh vegetables is clearly more meaningful than one of empty starches. But while most food pantries are only equipped to move large quantities of shelf-stable canned and dry goods, handling produce and protein items requires significant refrigeration and processing capacity. 

Finally, free food, no matter where it comes from, will never end hunger, because hunger is a symptom of the more pernicious issue of poverty. The authors challenge those trying to solve the food waste issue to base their models around expanding opportunity for our most vulnerable neighbors, not just moving food from place to place.

Source: Spotlight on Poverty, 5/3/16, Food Waste