Fighting Food Waste in Maryland - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Fighting Food Waste in Maryland

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Food donations at the Maryland Food Bank - Eastern Shore Branch. (Photo: WBOC) Food donations at the Maryland Food Bank - Eastern Shore Branch. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md. - According to the Maryland Department of the Environment, Marylanders produce nearly one million tons of food scraps every year.  Wednesday, leaders across the state got together in Linthicum for the Maryland Food Recovery Summit with the goal of increasing food recovery across the state.

More than 200 stakeholders, including representatives from local, state and federal governments, non-profits, the retail food industry, local schools, hospitals and environmental groups attended the summit on Wednesday.

While the state leaders were busy discussing possible solutions, volunteers were hard in Salisbury at the Maryland Food Bank - Eastern Shore Branch.  November and December are the busiest months of the year at the food bank so packing up food and ensuring every donation is used is crucial.

And the Eastern Shore is not immune to the food waste issues that were being discussed in Linthicum on Wednesday.

"I would say that food waste is always an issue," said Jennifer Small, the managing director at the Maryland Food Bank - Eastern Shore Branch.  "Something we have talked about and tried to battle over the last several years working with the Maryland Food Bank.  It's something that I think is improving because of several programs the Maryland Food Bank has put into place."

Programs like the Retail Rescue Program where food retailers and grocery stories donate to the food bank so the food does not get thrown away.

"We work with farmers through our Farm to Food Bank Program," Small said.  "So we're helping the farmers to not have to till over food or throw away food that might otherwise be refused due to a spot or blemish that a retailer is not wanting to pay for."

A big key to helping reduce food waste is pushing for people to consider donating food to a food bank before simply throwing it away.  Food Bank officials said all donations are carefully looked over to ensure quality.

"We want to be able to put as much onto the table of our hungry Marylanders as we absolutely can," Small said.

Six million pounds of food some out of the Maryland Food Bank - Eastern Shore Branch each year and that number can climb if more people get into the mindset of donating rather than throwing away.

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