A professor and researcher argue that this is a crucial moment to consider the key role that food charities have to play in rewriting the rules of our food system.
Americans are suffering from hunger and food insecurity at alarming rates. As a result, emergency food networks have expanded significantly across the United States since the early 1980s; they’ve also become more institutionalized. This trend is especially apparent in the 200 food banks operating under the Feeding America banner all over the U.S. The Feeding America network collectively recovered and redistributed 4.5 billion pounds of unsaleable food to 46.5 million people last year. Both numbers are trending upward, more than doubling over the past two decades.
Currently, revaluing—and redistributing—food that would otherwise be wasted to feed the hungry depends on a massive volunteer labor force working in food pantries and soup kitchens at the local level.