Food Rescue to the Climate Rescue
Reduce Waste, Feed Hungry People, and Save the Planet!
Food Waste and Climate Change
There are a lot of BIG problems in the world right now. Unfortunately, reading the news can feel like a never-ending stream of bad news and issues out of your control. But did you know that food waste is a solvable problem that also reverses global warming? You may have heard 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by food rotting in landfills, taking the form of methane gas. However, reducing food waste is the third most impactful way to reverse Global Warming and something we can all work together to improve in our everyday lives.
Second Chance Foods, leading the way!
Last year, our food rescue operations saw a net benefit of avoiding 466.03 Tons of Co2 – that’s the equivalent of 101 passenger vehicles driven for *one year* and saved 22.42 Million Gallons of water! That’s the same as 50 Olympic Sized Swimming pools. ReFED lists seven key action areas that can improve our food system to prevent, rescue, and recycle food, so it doesn’t go to waste. Second Chance Foods is proud to report that we already practice four of these in our operations!
Optimizing the Harvest
Nearly 17 Million tons of surplus produce are generated at the farm level – 82% is estimated to have reached maturity but left behind! Why? Some are inedible due to rot or insect-related reasons. More than 1/4 of the surplus left behind is because it’s considered “not marketable.” Another 1/4 is considered marketable but isn’t harvested due to insufficient labor or contracts that have been filled.
Second Chance Foods Solutions – We work with local farms to help organize volunteers to harvest produce and connect it with people in need. We also utilize “not marketable” produce by transforming foods into nourishing meals like our signature Carrot Soup- the first meal ever made in our kitchen after we harvested 60 lbs of “ugly” carrots in 2017.
What can you do at home? – Shop local and shop “ugly”! When you shop your local farmers market or participate in a CSA you can bring some of those less traditional foods home. Or when you visit your regular grocery store, don’t shy away from less than picture perfect items.
Maximize Produce Utilization
While this action item is focused on preventing waste at the Manufacturer level, the Second Chance Foods kitchen practices this principle on a smaller scale. Our kitchen maximizes the vegetables in *all* our dishes – from putting extra peppers, onions, and carrots in our stir fried rice to any of our soups that are packed with available veggies, our volunteers use everything they can. We also extend the life of delicate produce like fruit by turning them into sauces (applesauce, pear sauce, cobblers) or dehydrating them as healthy snacks like banana chips! Our kitchen is resourceful, flexible, and innovative – so when a food donation come along we can always respond with a grateful, “Yes!” and transform that item into something unique and nourishing for our recipients.
What can you do at home? – There are lots of small changes you can make to use more of the food you bring home. From planning meals ahead of time, to auditing what you have on hand, we can all reduce food waste. Download our Guide, stick it on your fridge for inspiration and make 2023 your least wasteful year!
Strengthen Food Rescue
Only 3% of surplus food is donated. Even though NY passed legislation to require grocery stores and restaurants to donate surplus food, food rescue organizations like ours have a limited capacity to intake, preserve, and pass along these items before they expire. That’s one reason why you may hear us mention the need for capacity growth and how investing in cold storage and staff directly relates to our ability to rescue more food and feed more people.
Second Chance Foods Solutions – So far in 2022 we’ve recovered 235,806 pounds of food from grocery stores, farms, and other partnerships. We’ve also created over 60 thousand meals to pass on to those in need of hunger relief.
Recycle Everything Else
For many years recycling was the presented solution for global warming and waste. But we now know there are so many ways to prevent waste before it happens and utilize rescued food that recycling should be the last tactic to improve food systems. Second Chance Foods recycles the packaging and materials in our kitchen and are proud to compost the unusable food we receive and our produce scraps to nourish the soil.
What can you do? – If you already recycle, good job! Try challenging yourself to compost or find a bulk foods store. If you already do both, talk to your neighbors, friends, and even your state senators or local government representatives about ideas you have to reduce the need for recycling or making it more accessible for everyone in your area to compost and recycle.
This Holiday Season, You can Make a Difference
Your support puts more nourishing meals and groceries on the tables of those in need of food assistance. Because when you're in a crisis, the last thing you need to worry about it what's for dinner.