Stop Food Waste While Feeding the Hungry

Stop Food Waste While Feeding the Hungry

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Grace Klein Community started this petition to Alabama State House and

Imagine ordering your favorite meal, at your favorite restaurant. You smile as the server places the dish in front of you. A fragrant aroma fills the air, and your mouth waters as you prepare to dig in. But first, you divide your food almost in half, completely separating the two sections. The waiter watches incredulously as you take the slightly smaller portion of food and empty it into a trash bag. You commence to eating the remainder of your meal as if nothing were odd about your behavior.

Does this sound like an unreal scenario? Unfortunately, it is not as far-fetched as one would think. In the United States, 40% of food is thrown away every year. This amounts to $162 billion in food waste. The Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC), a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing excess wholesome cuisine from being wasted, has been instrumental in providing these staggering statistics.[1]

According to the RLC, in the United States alone, 49,100,000 people struggle with food insecurity, which is defined as “limited access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” If, instead of being thrown away, wasted food was donated to those in need, the non-profit sector could serve 58,064,516,129 meals. Can you imagine? Over 58 BILLION meals!

Food insecurity is not just a global issue, it is a legitimate and growing concern in our own backyard. In Alabama, 919,670 people are struggling with hunger; 25% of them are children. [2] Well over half of all children in Alabama receive free or reduced-price lunches at school. [3] Because of these unprecedented times where schools are now closed until August, this means nearly a quarter of a million children in Alabama do not have access to the meals they need in order to survive.

When considering the hunger epidemic facing the world today, food waste is not only a personal tragedy, but this issue also has a tremendous negative environmental and economic impact. Food waste does not just involve the food itself, but the ramifications are far reaching, impacting the resources, time and energy that are involved in planting, growing, producing, manufacturing and distributing the food. According to Forbes magazine, nearly one-quarter of our water supply is wasted by growing food that will eventually be thrown away. Additionally, if the land that is used to grow wasted food was gathered in to one place, it would cover more than three-fourths of the state of California! Wasted food uses 21% of our freshwater, 19% of our fertilizer, 18% of our cropland, and 21% of our landfill volume. [4] This amounts to billions of dollars in wasted resources each year.

Environmentally, the impact is just as devastating. Move for Hunger states, “Food waste that ends up in landfills produces a large amount of methane – a more powerful greenhouse gas than even CO2…excess amounts of greenhouse gases such as methane, CO2 and chlorofluorocarbons absorb infrared radiation and heat up the earth’s atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change.” [5]

What is the answer? Our friends in France may have found it. They have passed a law prohibiting grocery stores and restaurants from throwing away “overage” food, and instead require that the food be donated to a charity. That simple law has moved mountains in France. Five thousand French charities now get over half of their donations from these sources. These new laws have increased the quantity and quality of donations. [6]

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action. The time is now for the State of Alabama to be thinking forward to lead our nation in eliminating food waste. We need to demonstrate the insight and unity of our state by intentionally crafting a plan to care for our citizens, friends, and neighbors who struggle with food insecurity.

Grace Klein Community is launching this formal petition to appeal first to the lawmakers of our own Alabama government, and then to our national government leaders, to enact into law, a requirement for every supermarket, grocery store, restaurant, food supply company, farmer, school, camp, hospital, airline, and any other food supplier, to give unused food to the charities of their choices. This law would allow a charitable 501(c)3 organization to recover unsold/unused supplies from any public food supplier and immediately distribute the food to the poor and needy within their communities.

We have successfully identified that our current system is broken. As citizens of the United States and residents of the State of Alabama, we must initiate immediate change to remedy this travesty. The first step towards lasting change is to bring this issue to the forefront and capture the attention of our elected officials.

Our voice must be heard! We must speak up and do everything in our power to sensibly protect our fellow Alabamians, who are going hungry while so much food is being wasted each day. This is a hardship we can alleviate with proper planning and initiative. Alabama can lead our nation and be the catalyst for global change. A cost-free directive set in place to help fellow citizens get much needed food is not only a wise and compassionate decision, it is the right decision.

[1]https://www.rescuingleftovercuisine.org/challenge?gclid=Cj0KCQjw1Iv0BRDaARIsAGTWD1tmCAxk1Dpx7GwsUHOZnDi4jaL7iWwFtZVy1hq78oe5WeyFxOnc85saAgJ3EALw_wcB

[2] https://alfba.org/hunger-in-alabama/  and https://www.nokidhungry.org/who-we-are/hunger-facts?gclid=Cj0KCQjw1Iv0BRDaARIsAGTWD1tdRxTyBqfkh1pnAvYuI-wJ4Bo-3kLjHNl66cRORNFOmdeM8sNm8AoaAr4oEALw_wcB

[3] https://www.al.com/birmingham-news-stories/2009/11/more_alabama_pupils_eat_free_l.html

[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/07/18/what-environmental-problems-does-wasting-food-cause/#2dafdf242f7a

[5] https://moveforhunger.org/the-environmental-impact-of-food-waste

[6] https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/02/24/586579455/french-food-waste-law-changing-how-grocery-stores-approach-excess-food

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!