MPR highlights the role of Second Harvest Heartland in rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste:
Over the last four years, Second Harvest Heartland more than quadrupled the amount of perishable food it gets from grocery stores like Cub, Walmart, and Target, to 12.3 million pounds in 2010. That’s enough for more than 9 million meals.
More than half of the donations we receive at Hallie Q. Brown Food Shelf come from Second Harvest, so I can personally testify to the impact of their work. Nevertheless, I do wonder what else can be done to reduce food waste. As the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency staff person quoted in the MPR story points out, only “a very small part of the food that could be rescued is being rescued.”
One solution would be to capture and distribute more locally grown produce. In addition to its Food Rescue program, Second Harvest gleans apples from Minnesota orchards each fall. As for backyard fruit trees, Fruits of the City is doing great work to harvest and deliver fresh apples and pears to local food shelves. On the receiving end, we at Hallie Q. Brown are organizing a local foods drive that will potentially involve participation from CSA farms, community gardens, co-ops, and farmer’s markets.
Improving transportation for pick ups and deliveries is another potential solution. Hallie Q. Brown does have one volunteer driver pick up donations from health food co-ops in St. Paul twice per week. Unfortunately, we are continually missing opportunities to pick up leftover deli and other items that end up going bad before it’s too late. If you know anyone would be interested in helping with pick ups, give us a call at 651-251-9015.