Food Connection - EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy

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If we are unable to reduce waste at the source of production, the next step is "Feed Hungry People." That is Food Connection's mission.

The Food Recovery Hierarchy prioritizes actions organizations can take to prevent and divert wasted food. Each tier of the Food Recovery Hierarchy focuses on different management strategies for your wasted food.

The top levels of the hierarchy are the best ways to prevent and divert wasted food because they create the most benefits for the environment, society and the economy. 

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Food Connection is in the second tier of the EPA's Hierarchy.

In 2015, over 39 million tons of food waste was generated in the United States. (39 MILLION TONS!) While Americans dispose of millions of tons of food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that approximately 12 percent of American households - about 41 million people (41 MILLION PEOPLE!) had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources at some time during 2016. In the majority of cases, the food tossed into our nation’s landfills is wholesome, edible food.

What is needed is the connector. That is Food Connection.

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Offering Solutions

We can be leaders in our communities by collecting unspoiled, healthy food and donating it to our neighbors in need. By donating food, we’re feeding people, not landfills, supporting local communities, and saving money. 

We love this. 

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41 Million People in the U.S. Face Hunger

According to Feeding America:

September 6, 2017

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported today that 12.3 percent of American households remain food insecure – meaning that 1 in 8 households in the United States had difficulty at some time during the year in providing enough food for all their members. Although figures have improved since the peak of food insecurity in 2011 following the Great Recession, the numbers of people experiencing food insecurity have not reached pre-recession lows.

The report released today, Household Food Security in the United States in 2016, is published by USDA’s Economic Research Service and reports on data collected in December 2016. The report also presents statistics on how much households spent on food, and the extent to which food-insecure households participated in federal and community food assistance programs for 2016.

According to USDA, more than 41 million Americans face hunger, including nearly 13 million children. Some of the groups experiencing the highest rates of food insecurity include households with children led by single women and people living below the poverty level. In addition, about a quarter of food-insecure households report incomes that make them ineligible for any form of federal food assistance.

“Even though the economy is slowly recovering from the recession, this report should be a siren to stakeholders that there is still much work to be done,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. “Hunger in America is an extensive problem, but not one without a solution. We need policymakers, food banks, corporations, farmers and funders to work together to strengthen federal nutrition programs, reduce wasted food, and increase access to nutritious food so that all of members of our communities get the nourishment they need.”

No fresh food should ever end up in the trash while people go hungry.

The problem in the U.S. is not a lack of food, it is an overproduction and distribution problem. 

Food Connection connects the dots by pairing those with too much food, to those without enough food.

By providing local nonprofit partners with rescued fresh meals, they are able to free up resources and reallocate some of the funds once used for purchasing and preparing food, to other good works.

Please consider donating to our cause to help us expand our mission of reducing waste and easing hunger. 

How can you reduce your household food waste?

food waste at home, Food Connection

Here are some tips from the EPA

By simply making a list with weekly meals in mind, you can save money and time and eat healthier food. If you buy no more than what you expect to use, you will be more likely to keep it fresh and use it all. 

  • Keep a running list of meals and their ingredients that your household already enjoys. That way, you can easily choose, shop for and prepare meals.
  • Make your shopping list based on how many meals you’ll eat at home. Will you eat out this week? How often?
  • Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping and buy only the things needed for those meals.
  • Include quantities on your shopping list noting how many meals you’ll make with each item to avoid overbuying. For example: salad greens - enough for two lunches.
  • Look in your refrigerator and cupboards first to avoid buying food you already have, make a list each week of what needs to be used up and plan upcoming meals around it.
  • Buy only what you need and will use. Buying in bulk only saves money if you are able to use the food before it spoils.


It is easy to overbuy or forget about fresh fruits and vegetables. Store fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness; they’ll taste better and last longer, helping you to eat more of them.

  • Find out how to store fruits and vegetables so they stay fresh longer inside or outside your refrigerator.
  • Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables - especially abundant seasonal produce.
  • Many fruits give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves, and store fruits and vegetables in different bins.
  • Wait to wash berries until you want to eat them to prevent mold.
  • If you like to eat fruit at room temperature, but it should be stored in the refrigerator for maximum freshness, take what you’ll eat for the day out of the refrigerator in the morning.

  • Prepare perishable foods soon after shopping. It will be easier to whip up meals or snacks later in the week, saving time, effort, and money.
  • When you get home from the store, take the time to wash, dry, chop, dice, slice, and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking.
  • Befriend your freezer and visit it often. For example,
    • Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.
    • Cut your time in the kitchen by preparing and freezing meals ahead of time.
    • Prepare and cook perishable items, then freeze them for use throughout the month.
    • For example, bake and freeze chicken breasts or fry and freeze taco meat.

Be mindful of old ingredients and leftovers you need to use up. You’ll waste less and may even find a new favorite dish.

  • Shop in your refrigerator first! Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more.
  • Have produce that’s past its prime? It may still be fine for cooking. Think soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies.
  • If safe and healthy, use the edible parts of food that you normally do not eat. For example, stale bread can be used to make croutons, beet tops can be sautéed for a delicious side dish, and vegetable scraps can be made into stock.
  • Learn the difference between “sell-by,” “use-by,” “best-by,” and expiration dates.
  • Are you likely to have leftovers from any of your meals? Plan an “eat the leftovers” night each week.
  • Casseroles, stir-fries, frittatas, soups, and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers too. Search for websites that provide suggestions for using leftover ingredients.
  • At restaurants, order only what you can finish by asking about portion sizes and be aware of side dishes included with entrees. Take home the leftovers and keep them for or to make your next meal.
  • At all-you-can-eat buffets, take only what you can eat.

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