Food Recovery Is Ramping Up At Elijah’s Promise
We grow more than enough food on this planet to feed everybody healthy, filling food. This food is just not always distributed as effectively as possible. That is why this fall, Elijah’s Promise has been working hard on increasing our food recovery efforts. When farms have surplus food that they are not able to sell, often, that produce will just get plowed and wasted. Grocery stores and restaurants often have a similar problem. They prepare or purchase more food than they serve during a given day.
Rather than let this perfectly good food go to a landfill, we want to help “rescue,” or redistribute as much of that food as possible. We have been partnering for some time with Farmers Against Hunger. They are a New Jersey organization that gleans the surplus produce from farms all across the state. The produce is donated to food banks and community kitchens that can put it to good use. Squash and apples are the biggest fall crop in New Jersey, so we have enjoyed hundreds of pounds of each straight from the farm! We also have started working with local retailers such as Panera Bread and Trader Joe’s to recover bread, produce, and all kinds of other groceries.
Food recovery is not enough, though. We have to have a plan for making sure we are not just wasting it ourselves. Storage space and volunteers to process the extra food is a necessity. We have to make sure our extra food is used as soon as possible. Fortunately, some of our Promise Culinary students, as well as a few other volunteer groups have been incredibly helpful. They have turned perishable apples, eggplant, and squash into cooked, shelf-stable products. Our patrons can enjoy these foods into the Winter months when fresh food is harder to come by.
As the winter starts to roll in, we are looking forward to continuing to build relationships with local businesses. Making sure that we have fresh produce out of growing season is so important in helping keep diets healthy and bellies full.
Are you a member of a house of worship or another organization that has a commercial kitchen? A great idea for a volunteer opportunity this winter would be a fresh food drive and cooking party! The typical canned goods collected in donation drives are always appreciated, but fresh food is always even better (and more fun to prepare). Contact our Food Systems Coordinator Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate a donation!