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America has more than enough food to feed everyone.

America has more than enough food to feed everyone.

America has more than enough food to feed everyone … that’s according to feedingamerica.org. Yet, the CT Food Bank says that nearly one-half million Connecticut residents aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from. Who’s correct? Both, actually.

How can this be? Despite what many nonprofits, farms and food-related businesses are doing to get excess food onto the plates of those who need it most, food waste in the US is still enormous.

“By some estimates, nearly half of the food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. goes to waste,” says the feeding America website. Where does it fall through the cracks?

Farms – About 20 billion pounds of fruits and vegetables are discarded on farms (because they do not meet a retail standard for appearance) or left in fields and plowed under.

Food Service Operations – This group … such as restaurants and institutions … is responsible for 40 percent of still-edible food that ends up in landfills.

You & Me – Consumers are by far the largest source of food waste. While we can’t drop off a head of lettuce we’re not going to eat at the local food bank, we can all be more aware. Fresh-food eaters are a big part of this picture. We purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat that have a limited shelf life. And, when we don’t eat it in time, out it goes.

Here are a couple of more statistics from feedingamerica.org:

  • Approximately 72 billion pounds of perfectly good food—from every point in the food production cycle—ends up in landfills and incinerators every year.
  • 21 percent of volume in a landfill is food.
  • 21 percent of the nation’s fresh water is used to produce food that is subsequently discarded.

We’d like to thank our grantees, such as the CT Food Bank, Master’s Manna, and the Gemma Moran United Way/Labor Food Pantry, Soup Kitchens like St. Vincent de Paul of Middletown, and so many others, for partnering with local restaurants, farms and grocery stores to make sure a wide variety of fresh food is available for their clients.

The UN set the ambitious—but achievable—goal of reducing food waste by half in the year 2030, and the EPA and USDA are now working to meet that goal. If you’d like to understand more about the issue and how you can help make a difference, visit Feeding America.