Creating a Regenerative Community Food System

Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger (TBNEH) launches “Creating a Regenerative Community Food System” program to help divert food surplus from the waste stream in Pinellas County, in partnership with Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. The program was developed to inspire community members to sustainably manage their food, in a more responsible and impactful way.

In order to prevent and divert wasted food from its associated impacts, multiple components of the program will 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 our community,” 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 this month in Pinellas 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 pilot program is presented in partnership with Pinellas Community Composting Alliance, Living Roots Eco Design, and Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.

Community members are invited to join one of the upcoming free workshops that will provide information and tools for diverting food from the waste system, including redistribution and composting. Attendees will learn how they can donate extra food to hungry community members and how easy the composting process can be. Visit http://www.networktoendhunger.org to check out upcoming workshop dates and locations.

Collecting food scraps for compost in our commercial kitchen sounded weird at first but in practice it was the easiest change we’ve ever implemented. From there, it’s picked up weekly via the Waste No Food app. We are thrilled, we’ve reduced our footprint in our local community so easily!” – Heather Miniello, Owner of Meranova Bed and Breakfast.

Businesses, agencies or individuals interested in participating in the #WasteNoFood movement can sign up to be excess food or food waste donors (free buckets and lids for scrap collection available upon request) or recipients of the donations via the “Waste No Food” app.

To learn more, sign up for a free #WasteNoFood workshop or find out how you can get involved in the #WasteNoFood movement, please visit www.NetworktoEndHunger.org.

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. www.NetworktoEndHunger.org

About Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg:
The Foundation for a Health St. Petersburg is a private foundation working with the communities of Pinellas County to eradicate inequality, achieve health equity, and improve population health. The Foundation inspires and empowers people, organizations, ideas, and relationships to ensure that every person equitably achieves optimal health and well-being. http://healthystpete.foundation/

About Pinellas Community Compost Alliance:
Pinellas Community Composting Alliance is a local educational group that offers classes, consultations, and public speaking on best composting practices and food waste reduction for our environment. PCCA began in 2018 to help our community to improve our sandy soils for gardening and to intercept food and yard waste from being tossed out with the trash. Since our doors opened, we have taught hundreds of newbies how to begin composting, and have been invited to present at several conferences, schools and community groups. https://mypcca.org/

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