The HVADC Cultivator
Feeding the Hudson Valley Event Highlights Effectiveness of Gleaning Programs to Aid Food Insecure Residents and Reduce Food Waste
Feeding the Hudson Valley is a food recovery and gleaning network that, through their web-based mobile app ChowMatch, recovers edible and nutritious unused food and delivers it through a network of volunteer organizations that feed the hungry.
Feeding the Hudson Valley’s aim is to reduce hunger and food waste in the Hudson Valley. Feeding the Hudson Valley matches food donors, volunteers and non-profit agencies to divert food from landfills to lunch boxes in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties.
Following a successful October 2016 event on the Walkway Over the Hudson, Feeding the Hudson Valley organizers are now preparing for a second event, on Saturday, October 7, 2017 on the Walkway Over the Hudson from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Feeding the Hudson Valley is a celebration of positive solutions that address the issue of food waste and feeding local residents who are considered to be “food insecure.” In addition to offering a free lunch prepared from rescued food that would have otherwise gone to waste to Walkway visitors that day, the event will include live music, expert speakers, local chef demonstrations, educational activities and resources to create awareness about food waste, food recovery, food waste prevention and feeding hungry people, not landfills. Meals will also be prepared from the rescued food for food emergency agencies in the area.
Gleaning is the practice of collecting leftover, excess, overlooked, or not commercially viable crops from farmers to feed the needy. The term dates back to the Hebrew Bible, as the custom of allowing the poor to follow the reapers in the field to gather the fallen spears of grains which had been overlooked or forgotten during the harvest. It has since been extended by numerous grass-roots organizations as a way to direct un-used produce and products to agencies which feed those who would typically lack access to such fresh goods.
HVADC is one of the participating partners in Feeding the Hudson Valley, which is organized by the Hudson Valley Regional Council. Other participating partners include: Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County Dutchess Outreach, Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste, Family of Woodstock, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, Long Table Harvest, Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Rondout Valley Growers Association, and UlsterCorps.
While many benefit from the great bounty of fresh and local foods the Hudson Valley offers, there are many people in the region who suffer from food insecurity. Those who are food insecure lack easy and regular access to quality food and frequently go hungry. In New York state tons of edible food goes wasted; it is estimated that food totals 18% of the waste stream. Nationally, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten while one in seven people struggles with hunger. Across Dutchess, Orange, Putnam and Ulster counties one in ten people receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP) benefits. Many others suffer from what is considered “food insecurity.” Reducing food waste by just 15% is estimated to be enough to feed 25 million Americans.
The 2016 Feeding the Hudson Valley event recovered more than 3,000 pounds of food including more than 1,000 pounds of produce gleaned from local farms. The rescued food provided a free meal to more than 1,400 people; more than 600 free meals were provided on the Walkway Over the Hudson and approximately 800 meals to those in need at local food assistance programs. In addition, more than 400 pounds of remaining produce was donated to local food assistance programs.
Finding Solutions Together
Feeding the Hudson Valley offers a convenient, direct, technological solution to issues of food waste and hunger in the Hudson Valley allowing for food donors, volunteers and recipient organizations to create a greater impact by quickly making connections between those who have unused food and those who need it.
Donors from farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants, businesses, and caterers are invited to contribute produce and prepared but unserved food that will be picked up by volunteers. Tax-deductible donations are also welcome, which will be used to feed those experiencing hunger, while mitigating the environmental impact (and expense) of disposing of edible food.
Volunteers (18 and older) with reliable transportation will transport food from donors to recipient organizations. Volunteers can set their own schedules and geographic parameters, while doing good in their community.
Recipient Organizations will receive food donations, store them safely and provide them to those experiencing hunger. Since the ChowMatch app offers built-in tracking capability, organizations will have a convenient way to track donation sources, quantities and contents.
Join Us Today
Commit to reducing hunger and food waste in the Hudson Valley today. Join us at FeedHV.org.
For more information about being a donating farm, volunteering or contributing in any manner, contact Rich Schiafo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-564-4075 ext. 213.
Funding provided by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute through a grant from the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Any opinions, findings, and/or interpretations of data contained herein are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions, interpretations or policy of Rochester Institute of Technology and its NYS Pollution Prevention Institute or the State.