By: Cheryl Kollin, CFR Program Director
“Why don’t more people know about Community Food Rescue and the amazing work that you all do distributing recovered food?”
I got this question after I made a presentation about CFR at a local conference. It’s true that while food is being recovered and distributed all the time by a network of food businesses, food assistance organizations and volunteer food runners, food recovery is generally under the public radar. Yet, people are becoming more aware that food is wasted — on farms, at grocery stores, in restaurants and at home.
The latest statistics from the Montgomery County Department of Environment reveal that food waste is the largest component of the county’s solid waste—146,000 tons per year, representing 22% of all solid waste. At the same time, 60,000 of our neighbors in the county experience hunger. That is why Manna Food Center launched Community Food Rescue (CFR) Week last year to inspire action and spotlight ways the community can come together to tackle food waste and hunger.
CFR Week 2019 is scheduled for Oct 20-26, with five public events held throughout Montgomery County. Most of them are free and designed to provide education and hands-on experiences.
Throughout CFR Week, we invite community members to follow food along the “alternative” supply chain, from rescue to consumption. Participants can glean surplus apples at Butler’s Orchard and distribute bushels to CFR member non-profit food recipient organizations. You can join Chef Scott Ulen, from STEP, a non-profit culinary training program, and cook some of the apples along with other recovered food into delicious and healthy meals for the Montgomery Coalition for the Homeless.
Under Chef Scott’s guidance, you can also whip up some tasty appetizers using recovered food. We will serve the appetizers at a Food Rescue Happy Hour at True Respite Brew Company to welcome new CFR members and thank volunteers and supporters. True Respite is a local microbrewery that not only makes wonderful craft beer but also practices another form of food recovery by donating their spent grain to a pig farmer in Frederick.
To show the public what the reduce, recover, reuse, and recycle continuum looks like, CFR Week will co-host a farm tour and composting demonstration with local experts from Compost Crew, Montgomery County Food Council, Montgomery County Department of the Environment, and Bethesda Green at Koiner Farm, a non-profit farm and education center in downtown Silver Spring.
To cap off the week’s events, join us to watch professional chefs from local restaurants vie for the prize at the No Waste, Big Taste Cooking Competition at the Fresh Farm Market in downtown Silver Spring. See how chefs can transform a mystery basket of ugly produce and other recovered foods into two dishes that will delight the judges’ taste buds.
Our two teams will feature local chefs: Chef Demetrius Bright from Matchbox and Chef Brian Lacayo from PLNT Burger, both based in Silver Spring. They will be accompanied by two sous chefs: Kyley McGeeney, a Washington, DC-based food blogger and Linda Wang, a Washington DC-based food photographer.
We hope CFR Week 2019 will help our community learn about and participate in the amazing network for food recovery, shining a spotlight on what the community can do together to feed more and waste less.
For details and to sign up to attend events, visit the CFR Week webpage.