February 22, 2015
the food waste stream
We have a huge a surplus of food in this county that gets thrown out and yet there are people who go hungry. It's so... illogical and unkind. I know of three ways to remedy the situation. Do you know of others?
1. Dumpster diving requires thrifty and brave souls who individually and regularly check store dumpsters for salvageable items. Found treasures include packaged foods that are near expiration and bread or produce that is bagged separately and in decent condition. Risks include trespassing, getting messy, and potentially wasting your time. This is not a very wide reaching solution and it seems to me that trendy, privileged people are more likely to partake in this activity.
2. A friend of ours recently stumbled on a place near us called The Friday Store. It is tucked away in a business park. For a discounted price they sell food items that are about to expire or have some flaw like upside down labels or dents. It is only open on Friday and Saturday. The owners spend the rest of the week gathering near expiration foods directly from local grocery stores. Disadvantages include that the store is not very well known so it doesn't have a super huge impact - though it still probably has more impact than dumpster diving. Also, while it does seem to have patrons who are shopping there out of budgetary necessity, it still has the trendy, privileged patrons like ourselves going for fun or righteousness. Either way, it is a great resource and I do recommend checking it out if you're in the area!
3. There are programs like Boulder Food Rescue that utilize volunteers to collect donated food items from local grocery stores and then redistribute it agencies that work with people who need it. I favor this solution because it gets more food to more people who need it but then again it requires a lot of volunteers. Oh hey, if you have spare time on your hands, you can follow their instructions for starting a food rescue near you!