Cornucopia Community Advocates expands Food Recovery Program

No one should go hungry; no food should go to waste.

To address this challenge, Cornucopia Community Advocates and its partners, The Sustainable Economic Development Initiative and the Arizona Community Foundation – Yavapai, have expanded a pilot program to establish food transfer linkages between farmers, grocery stores and restaurants to supply additional food to local food assistance programs in the Verde Valley and the quad-cities area.

These projects utilize spontaneous supplies of food such as orchard harvests, unexpected food shipments and food surpluses from grocery stores and restaurants.

“We seek to make these food transfer linkages sustainable and long-lasting,” said Cornucopia President/CEO Harvey Grady.

“In America, 40 percent of food goes to waste largely because farmers, grocery stores and restaurants have not linked with local food assistance programs to transfer edible food to those who feed the hungry. We are creating a national model that recognizes that feeding the hungry is a distribution problem and not an issue of food shortage, “said Eric Marcus, SEDI executive director.

Two part-time food recovery coordinators, one in the Quad Cities and one in the Verde Valley, make personal contact with all potential food sources and food assistance programs to identify promising linkages between sources and programs. Coordinators facilitate a food recovery linkage agreement between one source and one food assistance program as the first step then, monitor that linkage to learn how well it works and suggest improvements. These programs create collaboration between food sources and food assistance programs leveraging food recovery for feeding the hungry.

According to the USDA Economic Research Service, one-fourth (25.2 percent) of children in rural areas were considered poor in 2014.

“Children living in persistently poor rural areas tend to experience worse outcomes in terms of nutrition, activity and obesity,” said former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Despite their critical role in our economy, too many Americans in rural areas are not sharing in our nation’s economic growth and, in turn, their children have also been disproportionately affected.”

To contact the food recovery coordinator in the Quad Cities, call 928-592-7929. In the Verde Valley, call 928-592-3837.

CCA is a nonprofit organization created in 2000 dedicated to the mission of enhancing community spirit and effectiveness through sharing resources. CCA offers direct service programs and assists more than 24 tax-exempt public charities serving thousands of people.

Information from Cornucopia Community Advocates.