Urban Food Actions Platform

Modeling the potential to increase food rescue: Denver, New York City, and Nashville

Author: JoAnne Berkenkamp, Caleb Phillips
Publisher:Natural Resources Defense Council
2017

There is nothing more shocking or ironic than the fact that up to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply goes uneaten each year,1 yet more than 41 million people lack a secure supply of food to their tables.2 Excess and scarcity rub elbows every day, leading to negative consequences for the health and social wellbeing of low income communities as well as our environment and economy. Municipal governments have typically lacked a mechanism to assess how much more surplus food could potentially be donated by the businesses and institutions in their community or evaluate the role that food rescue efforts can play in a broader strategy to curtail wasted food. Without a guidepost for “what’s possible,” development of food rescue efforts within a given municipality can occur on an incremental basis and without a shared vision among city officials, anti-hunger advocates, potential donors, the philanthropic community, low income individuals and others who are (or could become) committed to addressing food insecurity in their community. Our research aims to quantify the scale of additional foods that could potentially be rescued from sources within each city, positioning municipalities to plan for development of their food rescue system—and reduce the amount of food being discarded—in a more fully informed and strategic way.

Organization: Civil Society Organization
Region: North America
Areas of focus: Food loss and waste
Tags: Food banks, Food safety, Food security and nutrition, Recycling & recovering