By Donna Westfall – November 16, 2016 – Do you hate waste, particularly when it involves fresh produce that could be used to feed people. We have a dilemma in this town. It’s not a big problem. It’s just that when Rural Human Services (RHS) has too much fresh produce, sometimes it goes to waste. Here’s why. They have normal distribution channels. Then after those are supplied, they may have pallets of bell peppers, apples, strawberries, broccoli, eggplant, etc., sitting with no place to go. Then they rot and have to be thrown away.
Here’s one scenario. Young mom abandoned by her baby’s father is penniless and doesn’t know where to turn, how to buy food or feed her baby. What to do?
Here’s another scenario. Parents are more interested in doing drugs than feeding their child(ren). No food in fridge.
While there are still hungry people in this town, especially children, we need to come up with a system for distributing food while it’s still viable to those that need it the most, want it and will use it.
While achieving zero waste at the Del Norte County Waste Station may be impractical, I do believe that it is entirely possible to have zero fresh food waste in this town with a little organization. And, it’s not just RHS, but also food waste in the public schools.
Per Dave Cormack, W”hen I worked as a Custodian for the Del Norte School District, you would not believe the amount of food I threw away every single day. I tried and tried, told the District I would use my time, and my fuel, to deliver the leftover food to somewhere that could use it, even to farmers to feed their pigs…No-Go. I guess it is a statewide law, that once the food has been put out for consumption, it either (1) goes into the kid’s stomach, or (2) goes into the dumpster. There were times I had to split the bag into 2 parts, because I could not physically lift the leftovers into the dumpster. and this was one little school, in one little county, in a very big state. I can only imagine the amount of food that is tossed into the garbage, every day, throughout CA.”
Here are some other ideas, thoughts and solutions from a few people discussing this on Facebook:
Mike Marler, “One of the other problems is a lot of families don’t eat right and the produce would probably go to waste in there refrigerators anyway. These kids need to be taught the importance of eating right….Maybe, you can offer it up to pig farmers in exchange for meat…Turn it into compost and sell the compost, The schools and food bank could collaborate maybe…Talk to Crescent Elk (school), maybe they could use the food banks waste for their garden compost since they’re not allowed to use their own…compost is not waste it will grow more food than you put into it, What you can’t give away to the poor give to the community garden… A big fold-out sign on the 101 Free Food.”
Lenda Gale Beck, ” Food is so expensive, this is the purpose of this post,, and we ought to as a group ought to be able to save the food from waste… it is like getting the food to where it needs to be and advertising the food times for the give away.”