TAMPA, FL– Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger (TBNEH), a tri-county leader in hunger relief, research, and program development, expands Creating a Regenerative Community Food System (CRCFS) program into Pasco County to help divert food surplus from the waste stream, in partnership with the Pasco Food Policy Advisory Council. The program will be a part of the FPAC’s Plant for Pasco initiative with hopes to inspire and educate community members to sustainably manage their food, in a more responsible and impactful way.
To prevent and divert wasted food from its associated impacts, multiple components of the program address different layers of the Food Recovery Hierarchy, recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. 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. In order of most preferred to least, the different levels of preventing food waste include source reduction, redistribution (donating extra food to food banks, soup kitchens and shelters), feeding animals, and composting.
“We are excited to launch a program that is much needed in Pasco County,” said Caitlyn Peacock, Executive Director. “Our goal is to change the way our food surplus is integrated into the community food system, which ultimately supports our Network’s mission of creating a sustainable, community-based food system to provide access to nutritious food for all. This unique initiative allows our local businesses and consumers to feel empowered to provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat, while conserving resources and saving money.”
Launched in 2017 in Hillsborough County, the program allows community members to collaborate by reducing food waste in the waste management system while improving their local communities. Through free educational classes and an easy-to-use food collection, donation and pickup system for excess food or scraps via the “Waste No Food” app, this program will help change food waste behaviors in our community. Efforts will include increasing partnerships between local farms and non-profit agencies with food needs. This program expansion is presented in partnership with Pasco Food Policy Advisory Council.
Community members are invited to visit the program’s website www.networktoendhunger.org for information and tools for diverting food from the waste system, including redistribution and composting. Visitors will learn how they can donate extra food to hungry community members and how easy the composting process can be.
“Although not new, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many areas of concern with our current food system and reminded us of the importance of continuing our collective work to create a more equitable, resilient, local food system in Pasco County. It is heartbreaking to think about people going hungry when there is so much food entering our waste system. Giving farmers and businesses an easy way to connect to non-profit agencies who distribute food to our neighbors experiencing food insecurity is a huge benefit of this program. Changing our food waste behaviors and reducing food insecurity has the potential to impact our environmental and economic health and improve the overall well-being of the community,” stated Patty Jackson, long-time resident of Pasco County and member of the Pasco Food Policy Advisory Council.
Businesses, agencies, or individuals interested in participating in the #WasteNoFood movement can sign up to donate or receive excess food or food waste via the “Waste No Food” app.
Learn more or find out how you can get involved in the #WasteNoFood movement by visiting www.NetworktoEndHunger.org. The Network is accepting donations online to help support the CRCFS program. For more information, please call (813) 344-5837.
About Pasco Food Advisory Council
The Pasco County Food Policy Advisory Council supports an equitable, resilient, local food system in Pasco County. The FPAC serves at the discretion of the Pasco Board of County Commissioners and provides advisement to the BCC by adhering to its mission of facilitating the review of responsible policies that improve the access to culturally appropriate, nutritionally sound and affordable food produced in Pasco County.
About Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger
Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger is committed to ending hunger in Tampa Bay by bringing people together to find solutions that eliminate barriers, increase access and knowledge, and expand the amount of nutritious food available. TBNEH has over 350 members and serves a tri-county area, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties. TBNEH is a 501(c)3 non-profit agency and relies on its community for support. For more information, visit www.NetworktoEndHunger.org.