Food Insecurity in the News: Community Plates in Ohio, Celebrity Chefs Transform Wasted Olympic Food, The 6 Stages of Food Waste

Our recent reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.

Community Plates: Closing The Hunger Gap With an App via

4X1A5791-10-e1471274086478Community Plates offers a streamlined solution to a complex problem: plenty of restaurants have extra food and ingredients at the end of the day, but no practical way to deliver them consistently to organizations that can put them to good use. Improvised and ad hoc solutions tend to fail or fall short over time—like a well-intentioned machine, just not a well-oiled one. Every microwave oven on the planet has a button for popcorn, yet we still lack the technology to redirect food destined for the dumpster to folks who are hungry.

Read the full story on


Celebrity Chefs Turn Wasted Olympics Food Into Meals for Homeless via

Consider what it takes to keep all those Olympian machines nourished and hydrated for one meal at the Rio Games: 250 tons of raw ingredients to fill the bellies of 18,000 athletes, coaches and officials in the Olympic Village.

Now multiply that figure by three — for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and again for each day of the Games.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the Italian chef Massimo Bottura also did the math and was inspired, not by the tantalizing dimensions of herculean consumption but by the prospect of colossal waste.

Read the full story on the


From Field to Fork: The Six Stages of Wasting Food via The Guardian

watermelonEvery second, an amount of food equal to the weight of a sedan car is thrown away in the US – about 60m tons a year. It starts at the farm. The potato that grew to the size of a brick. The watermelon with the brown slasher marks on the rind. The cauliflower stained yellow in the sun. The peach that lost its blush before harvest. Any of those minor imperfections – none of which affect taste or quality or shelf life – can doom a crop right there. If the grower decides the supermarkets – or ultimately the consumer – will reject it, those fruits and vegetables never make it off the farm.

Read the full story on


Europe Does Something Amazing With Food That Has Nothing To Do With Eating via The Huffington Post

The Italian government passed sweeping legislation this week that aims to drastically reduce the amount of food wasted in the country. The new laws make it easier for farms and supermarkets to donate unsold food and reward businesses that cut waste. The measures also encourage Italians to take restaurant leftovers home in doggy bags (something Italians, apparently, are loath to do).

Read the full story on Huffington Post.


Food Insecurity in the News: Hacking Poverty with Mobile Tech, Sell-by Dates & Food Waste Link, 59 Organizations that Fight Hunger

Our recent reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.

Hacking poverty through mobile tech and social entrepreneurship via TechCrunch

The most successful distributed system to date is mobile technology. With 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, more people on the planet have access to mobile phones than to toilets. Using this near ubiquity of mobile technology, poverty hackers are changing the economics of poverty through new strategies for investments, loans and credit. Already, mobile money in the global south is leapfrogging the global north’s centralized banking paradigm.

Social entrepreneurship is proving its worth throughout the developing world by applying established business principles and practices to poverty-related issues. Unlike top-down aid approaches, social entrepreneurship fosters and supports solutions created within communities of poor and marginalized people, making those solutions more likely to be adopted and sustained over time.

The ‘Sell By’ Dates On Our Groceries Are Causing Tons Of Food Waste via Climate Progress

shutterstock_220205905-1024x683The food labeling system in the United States is a complete mess. Foods can be labeled “healthy” regardless of how much sugar they contain. Foods can be labeled “Non-GMO” even when they don’t have genes, making the existence of a genetically-modified version impossible.

But beyond encouraging misinformation in our food system and potentially leading consumers to make ill-informed nutritional decisions, labels can also be terrible for the environment and food security.

Ask Well: Can You Eat Foods Past the ‘Sell By’ Date? via New York Times

Although the USDA food safety chart recommends that chicken, for example, only be kept in the fridge for two days, the “sell by” dates for chicken sold in refrigerators in stores is much longer than that. Why is there this discrepancy, and which is correct?

59 Organizations Fighting Food Loss and Waste via Food Tank

istock_47440964_mediumIt’s no secret that food loss and food waste are big problems. At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in markets in industrialized and developed countries alike. In rich countries alone, some 222 million tons of food is wasted, which is almost as much as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. And according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), wasted food costs some US$680 billion in industrialized countries and US$310 billion in developing countries.

Food Insecurity in the News: Starbucks Donates Unsold Food, College Students & Food Pantries, New Nutrition Labels

Our recent reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.

Starbucks Finally Starts To Donate All of Its Unsold Food via Forbes

So Starbucks recently announced that they will be donating 100 percent of their unsold food to charity. They currently are testing out a program in San Diego. When Starbucks announced their intentions, the company stated that they expect to donate five million meals to individuals and families this year and plan to eventually – over the next five years – be doing this at all of its 7,600 locations in the United States. By 2021, they say, they’ll have given away 50 million free meals.

What You Need to Know About Sugar and Nutrition Labels via National Geographic

The outgoing Obama Administration signals its nutrition priorities by making it easier for consumers to watch their sugar intake.

Stamford college students benefit from campus pantry via Stamford Advocate

1024x1024Colleges and universities from Purdue to South Florida to Penn State now offer pantries where students who might otherwise go hungry can stock up on healthy food. The College and University Food Bank Alliance, a national coalition, represents 207 schools with pantries. Four of them are in Connecticut, with Norwalk the only one in the southwestern corner of the state.

Open five days a week, the NCC pantry is being discovered by a growing number of students who can visit twice a month to stock up on groceries and daily for a grab-and-go snack of fruit or a granola bar.

These entrepreneurs are using technology to turn a profit on food waste via Vox

food-waste.0Food waste is bad for our wallets. It’s also bad for the environment — the equivalent of throwing away the water, energy, and other resources that go into growing it in the first place. But as interest in reducing food waste grows, so does innovation to make it happen. Take a look at what some creative businesses are doing to turn trash into treasure.

Food Insecurity in the News: Food Bank Limitations, Eat Ugly, USDA Makes Food Center Stage

Our recent reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.

Food Recovery—Bridging the Gaps via NERC, Northeast Recycling Council

Retail food donation_edible manhattanThis issue is near and dear to us at Community Plates. Food banks are important, but they have limitations. This is why our direct transfer of fresh food is a critical piece to the food insecurity puzzle:

One thing that I recently became aware of is that many food banks do not collect from restaurants. Grocery stores often have nonperishable food—canned or packaged food—that can be donated if it nears its “sell by date.” Food Banks may also be able to accept produce and even baked goods from grocers. However, because most food banks usually act as distributors of nonperishable food to local food rescue organizations, such as soup kitchens, they typically do not handle smaller quantities of perishable food donations. Restaurants are more likely to have cooked, unserved food leftover.

Save the Planet – Eat Ugly via New York Times

The efficiencies in farming, packaging and transportation that could come from consuming such fruits and vegetables, instead of throwing them away, could eliminate one billion tons of carbon emissions a year, Mr. Chabanne contends, and save 210 million tons of food a year.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that a third of the world’s food fit for human consumption each year does not reach consumers.

Food waste: The big issue for 2016 via Nation’s Restaurant News

sweetgreen x Blue Hill - wastED Hero_0

Sweetgreen offered a WastED salad, developed in partnership with Blue Hill, in its New York restaurants.

Social issues, and the food trends that can emerge from them, often simmer beneath the surface of mainstream consciousness, quietly gestating among the interested few before bursting, almost fully formed, into the public eye.

I think in 2016 that issue will be food waste. And the food trends associated with that look to be more interesting than you might expect.

Hunger costs US extra $160bn a year to treat chronic illnesses – study via The Guardian

Hunger and malnutrition cost the United States an extra $160bn a year in the treatment of chronic health conditions, according to a report released to coincide with Thanksgiving that exposes the consequences of “food insecurity” among poorer American families.

The study, commissioned by Christian charity Bread for the World, is believed to be the first to apportion a share of the long-term costs of illnesses such as diabetes that are linked to a lack of access to affordable, nutritious food.

In Paris, the USDA Puts Food and Climate Change Center Stage via Civil Eats

shutterstock_climate_ag-680x390The government agency has released a new report assessing the impacts of climate change on global food security and the U.S. food system. It takes a detailed look at how—between now and the end of this century—the changing climate will affect farming and food distribution around the world. These impacts will touch virtually everything we eat, from grains to fresh produce, fish, meat and dairy products.

Food Insecurity in the News: 25 Million Food Insecure Adults, Feds Get Serious on Food Waste, Scanning Away Waste

Our weekly reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.

Food Insecurity Hits Almost 25 Million American Adults via Forbes

Just under 25 million American adults have experienced food insecurity at some point during the past three months according to an analysis of national surveys conducted by Zogby Analytics. I have closely examined interviews we have done with 10,278 adults nationwide since June and found a stunning 10.1% who said that “they have gone without food for 24 hours at a time in the past month because of a lack of money or food”. Extrapolated from a total adult population of over 244 million people (estimated in 2014), that makes it about 24.7 million Americans age 18 or over.


It’s Time To Get Serious About Reducing Food Waste, Feds Say via

Currently, Vilsack says, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted each year. And if that’s hard to fathom, picture this: “It’s enough to fill the Sears Tower [technically now called the Willis Tower] 44 times,” Vilsack says.

USDA and EPA Set Historic Goal to Cut U.S. Food Waste in Half via Sustainable America Blog

Today is a groundbreaking day in the fight against food waste. The Obama administration announced the United States’ first-ever food waste reduction goal: Reduce food waste in America by 50 percent by 2030. To reach this goal, officials from the USDA and EPA said the federal government will be leading a new partnership with the private sector; charitable and faith-based organizations; and local, state and tribal governments. The news was delivered at a press conference in New York City at City Harvest, the country’s oldest food recovery organizations.

635780191475953976-food-waste00006Government agencies set goal to cut food waste in half by 2030 via USA Today

As part of its effort to act against climate change, the Obama administration has taken a sweeping stance to reduce food waste by 50% in the next 15 years.

The announcement Wednesday from the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency is a continuation of efforts in recent years to educate consumers about food date labels and safe food storage, as well as partnerships with food companies to address food insecurity and help figure out how to reduce the billions of pounds of food that go to landfills.


The Struggle to Feed America via Knowledge@Warton

Hunger in this country is not the result of scarcity. The United States exports more agricultural products than it imports (a record $152.5 billion in 2014), and domestically sells 30% more than consumers actually use (that’s how much is wasted each year — $162 billion worth of food that goes uneaten).

Scanning Away Food Waste via FoodTank


Chances are you encounter radio frequency identification (RFID) technology quite often. You’re doing so when you use a proximity card at work or a hotel, track a package, check out library books, or
become a scannable human. Within the food industry, RFID tags track food shipments’ progress at the pallet and truck level.

The global packaging company Avery Dennison is now working to bring that technology to supermarket shelves. Avery Dennison recently claimed that RFID tags could minimize retail food waste by 20 percent, which would yield savings of US$22 billion globally. James Stafford, Global Head of RFID Development, answered some questions on a technology that may just become embedded in your life in the near future.

Five Ways You Can Support Hunger Action Month Locally

Hunger affects every community, and during Hunger Action Month, Community Plates is sharing five ways you can make a difference in your own neighborhood:

  1. Sign-up to become a Community Plates Food Runner.

Millions of meals have been rescued and millions of hungry Americans have been fed because volunteers on their own time and in their own cars are taking on this senseless problem of food insecurity. It’s easy to become a food runner. Sign-up to use our app that will connect you with food rescue opportunities in your city. Don’t see your city? Let us know.

  1. Share a Food Insecurity Fact.

Did you know that there are over 48 million food insecure individuals in the United States, or 1 in 6 Americans, and 1 in 5 American children?

Food insecurity affects so many, and in our backyard. Share a fact with your friends and family to help us build local awareness. Interested in more facts? Check out the Hunger in America’s research.

  1. Thank your local volunteer food runners and food donors.

Gratitude is important to us, it’s one of our core values. Everyday, we’re blown away by the passion and commitment of our volunteer food runners and donors. Help us take the time to thank our volunteers and donors, here are some in your community.

  1. Join the community and follow and tag #CommunityPlates on social media!
  1. Get your favorite market or restaurant to donate instead of waste.

This is easier than you think. Learn more about becoming a Community Plates food donor.

Food Insecurity in the News: #DonateNotDump, Urban Farms, Howard start-up targets food waste

Our weekly reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.


Community Plates Tackles Food Waste & Hunger

“We’re saving in the range of 20,000 meals every week from ending up in the dumpster and instead onto the plates of somebody in need,” said Fairfield County Site Director Tom Hauser.

Community Plates has partnered with about 30 donors in the county, and delivers food to another 30 organizations that help feed the hungry. The organization has a network of about 300 volunteer food runners who pick up the food and get it where it needs to go. They make around 85 food runs per week.

Read the full story at Norwalk Daily Voice.


Donate Not Dump

After bicycling across America last summer rescuing food from supermarket dumpsters, activist Rob Greenfield is continuing his #DonateNotDump campaign. His goal is to inspire consumers to ask grocery stores to donate edible food to people who need it instead of throwing it away.
His new three-minute video shares highlights of the food he found and the news coverage he got throughout his journey.

Watch the video at Sustainable America.


Urban farm partnership fills need for healthy food, education and sense of community

If you drive up and down I-65 or I-70, there are thousands of acres like this,” he said. “We’re growing 35,000 pounds of food that is being given away each year. There’s a big need for this.”

Rosenblatt’s team of researchers identified more than 400 acres within the Indianapolis parks system that could support urban agriculture projects.

Produce grown at Urban Acres is distributed to community members through Gleaners Food Bank and the Old Bethel United Methodist Church community outreach.

“I don’t know how you best quantify it,” Gough said, “but it’s a complete coming together of a community.

Read the full article from Ball State University.


Howard start-up targets food waste


Photo: Howard County Times/Columbia Flier

Hungry Harvest’s mission is to find a market for these fruit and vegetable rejects – though the average consumer probably couldn’t even spot the difference, says CEO and co-founder Evan Lutz.

“If I didn’t tell you it was surplus food, you’d have no idea,” he said.

Lutz, a 2014 graduate of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, started Hungry Harvest with fellow Maryland alum John Zamora last year. The company is headquartered at the Conscious Venture Lab, an incubator for socially conscious businesses sponsored by the Howard County Economic Development Authority’s Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship.

Read the full story at the Baltimore Sun,


Food Insecurity in the News: Bogus Expiration Dates, World Food Prize Youth Recipient, Weather Link to Food Insecurity

Our weekly reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.

The vast majority of expiration dates are bogus — here’s how long your food is still good


We waste a lot of food out of fear: Experts estimate that $165 billion worth gets tossed each year.

But most expiration dates are largely made up. According to The National Resource Defense Council, the “sell by” dates do indicate not whether foods are safe to eat — they simply tell you when food will reach its limits for “optimal quality.”

Read more on Business Insider.

Exploring The MEANS Database: An Interview with World Food Prize Youth Institute Alum Maria Rose


Maria Rose, a student at the Public Health Program at American University, is making waves with an innovative tool that aims to reduce food waste by more efficiently connecting food donations to food pantries. After attending the World Food Prize’s Iowa Youth Institute, Rose put together, what she calls, the Matching Excess and Needs for Stability (MEANS) Database. The tool is already helping prevent food waste by connecting available food to those in need.

Read the full story on Food Tank.

Report: Extreme Weather Puts Food, Civil Order at Risk

Global food shortages will become three times more likely as a result of climate change and the international community needs to be ready to respond to price shocks to prevent civil unrest, a joint U.S.-British task force warned.

Rather than being a once-a-century event, severe production shocks, including food shortages, price spikes and market volatility, are likely to occur every 30 years by 2040, said the Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience.

Read more at Climate Central.

Food Insecurity in the News: Cutting Food Waste for Farmers, a Solidarity Fridge, Food Insecurity & Health Costs

Our weekly reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.


Cutting food waste to support farmers and the famished

Secretary Vilsack proposed the idea of a young leader investing the time to create a mobile app that would virtually eliminate food waste by connecting those with excess food to places in need of food, such as food banks, homeless shelters and other underserved communities.

Read more on the Environmental Defense Fund’s Blog.


To cut food waste, Spain’s Solidarity Fridge supplies endless leftovers

At a Basque restaurant nestled in the green hills just outside the Spanish city of Bilbao, head cook Itziar Eguileor gestures toward a dumpster out back.

“This all used to go into the garbage,” she says, lugging a huge pot of leftover boiled artichokes. “But now, these artichokes, we pack them in tupperware, load them into our old Land Rover and drive them over to Solidarity Fridge.”

Read the full story on

America’s Local Farms

As part of National Farmers Market Week, I would like to bring attention to an important economic driver, one that is bursting with fresh produce and happy customers. Farmers’ markets connect farms to urban areas, giving people access to fresh, healthy, and locally-grown produce and encouraging growth in local economies and regional food systems. At a time when more than one-third of Americans are considered obese and one-third develop heart disease, it’s time we changed our eating habits. To do this, we need a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system that will grow our economy and increase access to healthy food.

Read more on Huffington Post.

Food insecurity and high healthcare costs go hand in hand

People with severe food insecurity, who struggle the most to put food on the table, have healthcare costs more than twice as high as people who are food secure, according to a new Canadian study… People who have food insecurity, meaning inadequate or insecure access to food due to low income, “have poorer (physical and mental) health, this is documented extensively for adults and children,” said lead author Valerie Tarasuk of the University of Toronto.

Read the full story on

Food Insecurity in the News: “Wasted” Opportunities, U.S. Children & Poverty, New USDA Food App

Our weekly reading list of the people, places, and discussions taking place in food insecurity across the country.

Wasted Opportunities

When we think about the need to feed the hungry, we often think about increasing food production. As John Oliver’s scathing criticism of America’s food waste problem reminded us last week, this obsession with food quantity overshadows some of our food system’s more sinister realities. The fact that about a third of the food produced worldwide for human consumption is wasted is one of modern agriculture’s most embarrassing secrets. Producing all that wasted food accounts for up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a quarter of all water used for agriculture, an annual environmental cost of 750 billion USD, and a land area the size of Mexico. Meanwhile, close to a billion people suffer from chronic undernourishment.

Read the full story on Yale EPI.

Three year old Saria Amaya (L) waits with her mother after receiving shoes and school supplies during a charity event to help more than 4,000 underprivileged children at the Fred Jordan Mission in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles on October 2, 2014. Skid Row reportedly contains one of the largest populations of homeless people in the United States.                  AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON        (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)


More U.S. Children Live In Poverty Now Than During the Recession

In mid-September 2010, almost exactly two years to the date since the monumental collapse of Lehman Brothers, the New York Times published a bleak statistic: the ongoing Great Recession had driven the U.S. poverty rates to their highest in a decade and a half.

Five years of fitful economic recovery have not yet bettered this situation. According to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, more than one in five American children, about 22%, were living in poverty in 2013. Data for 2014 are not yet available, but the report anticipates that the child poverty rate remains at an “unacceptably high [level].”

Read the full story on

Modern Farmer: Spoiler Alert: New USDA App Helps Fight Food Waste 



The USDA estimates that 21 percent of food consumers buy goes to waste. It’s bad for our bodies, bad for our wallets, and bad for the planet. Instead of just telling us, the USDA released an app for iPhone and Android that it hopes will help solve the problem by sending us alerts when food is about to go bad.

Read the full story on Modern Farmer.