I know there are organizations who try to do that to feed the poor. My question is, how can the average family get some of the food for their own consumption to reduce grocery bills without going through an organization? Thinking about things like going to the farmers directly and asking for the good but not so pretty vegetables that couldn't be sold because the consumers are picky, or getting expired frozen meat from the grocery store to feed the dog. Or buying animal parts from the butchers that nobody likes to eat, but fresh and edible. Do you have any tips that you tried and work for you?
A lot of commercial produce comes from commercial level farmers who harvest that crop green, and it either ripens on way to market OR is force ripened on the way to market.
If you have a farmers' market or someone is selling from a stand at their place, you may be able to connect with 'blems' or 'less than perfect fruit and veggies' which will eat fine and can be processed into food (jelly, jam, salsa, sauce, roasted, dehydrated, etc) at a reduced price.
It is the demand for 'perfect fruit and veggies' at the consumer end that drives that wasteage at the field. Some is sent to the sauce/salsa/jam/pickled/processed. Maybe if there are small scale growers in your area you can convince them, or the stores they supply, that there is a market for that less than perfect produce. So they will stock and sell it.
Every day we drive to the (giant) local store of a major grocery store company chain. We pick-up all their, fresh from the cooler, discard produce. This includes boxes of strawberries with often only one single overripe berry. Or packages of nuts that have reached expiration date, but are perfectly fine. Or huge bags of lettuce leaves pulled from lettuce heads (that we feed to the chickens and rabbits). We get perfect bottles of juices and other drinks, and unopened boxes of celery, potatoes and bags of onions and much more. It is absolutely incredible what they throw away. We haven't bought a single bit of produce or fruit for us, the many pigs we raise (we give them no grain because there's so much) or the rabbits. The cattle, goats and chickens even sometimes benefit. At first the local store didn't want to donate, but we called the national headquarters and got permission and they told the local outlet to do it (headquarters liked the recycling and reduced dumpster use). ....The watermelons and cantaloupes are also always good. There's so much (a good bit of which is marked "organic") that we can and freeze lots for latter. The store also gives away all its baked goods and bread to a local homeless shelter. And other items to a woman's shelter. So depending on your local store and situation there are all kinds of things being given away every day. Just ask. (We also give quite a bit of what we get to a number of friends and family because we often pick-up too much. Feeding folks is good.)
We have also at times picked up 5 gallon buckets of all the uneaten meals and meal leftovers from the National Park Eco Education Center, a local private school and the local private summer camp. They all also like recycling their food stuffs instead of dumpster'ing it. They get to claim how earth friendly and socially conscious they are, we get free food for the animals (and sometimes us).
There are also local farm field gleaner groups you might connect with. Or start one yourself. They are great benefit to local food banks. There is absolutely no reason for any food to be wasted if local farmers and groups make the effort to recycle it. And the economic benefits to user of the give-a-way's can benefit hugely.
Creating sustainable life, beauty & food (with lots of kids and fun)
Jim, thank you for the input. I will definitely ask the store, I would love to save all these stuff they would throw away otherwise. I'm glad it worked out for you, I was afraid they won't give stuff away because what if I get sick from the rice that is one day past it's expiration date.
Around here, non-corporate stores are more open to selling not perfect food. I know of two markets that sell bargain produce. There is also some delivery service for "ugly" produce. I have no idea what there prices are though. Corporations are often not allowed to give this stuff away to the public.
I know that for legal reasons, many grocery stores in the US are unable to give away "bad" food for human consumption. But they can usually give away discarded food for livestock / composting purposes. Might be worth your while to start a few composting bins and maybe misplace some of that "bad" produce on the way to the bin.
David Livingston wrote:There is a law going through French parliament that will force shops over a certain size to donate any food not sold to charitys
Just hope that there is a liability limit imposed too.
In the late 1980's KFC's in Minneapolis would donate end of night food to soup kitchens to feed the homeless. Some chicken got improperly held after it was given, and someone ate and got sick from it, and successfully sued KFC for $1.4 million. Corp stopped donations RIGHT now. A friend that worked at a franchise, said they had to sign a paper saying they couldn't sue, then the staff could take home end of day food.
That's what can mess up 'second harvest'. We work with the local food pantry and there is a lot of scratchNdent (dropped a pallet) or semi rolled over in an accident cargo reclamation, or stuff at date and still perfectly good, that comes through there. It is amazing what can come through, and they do call it "America's Second Harvest". At least someone gets to eat it then. Trust me some of the stuff is from major food retailers, and can be pretty expensive...