Wasted food is an issue that is particularly frustrating considering the amount of people in the world who suffer from starvation and malnutrition. There are two definitions that apply to this issue, which are food waste and food loss. Food loss pertains to food that becomes spoiled, spilled, or otherwise unfit for consumption during the supply chain from production to consumption. Food waste refers to food that makes it to the stage of consumption, but is thrown out even if its quality is safe for humans. Food waste is a major problem for commercial and retail industries, and this is especially true in large cities, where many struggle to find food and go hungry. Thankfully, there are many institutions that are working to rectify this problem, including Forgotten Harvest.
Forgotten Harvest is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization based in the greater Detroit area. They deliver over 144,000 pounds of food on a daily basis to local charities that then distribute the food to the people who need it the most. Annually, they redistribute over 50 million pounds of food, helping over 750,000 people in need locally. They identify restaurants, grocery stores, caterers, and other organizations who often have a surplus of food, and due to health regulations, are not able to provide it commercially. Forgotten Harvest rescues this food from landfill, and provides it to the organizations that can mobilize it for good. There are many other social benefits that come from the realization of their work, which is to “envision communities that work together to end hunger and increase individual, neighborhood, economic, and environmental health.”
Forgotten Harvest also has an interactive map on their website where people who are looking for healthy food that is provided by their network of over 200 organizations around Detroit. They also have mobile pantries listed on their website by day and location, making food more accessible to those in need. During the pandemic when many lost their jobs and source of income, Forgotten Harvest has been a crucial resource for the city.
We are inspired by Forgotten Harvest’s amazing efforts to cut down on food waste to help divert it from landfill and feed their community. Be sure to look out for more stories of changemakers and movements in future articles, and feel free to contact us if there is a topic you would be interested to learn about; chances are people in the Flourish community are looking for the same information, and we’ll give you a shout-out for your participation!