“Food rescue’ takes to the Walkway

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A woman signs the food rescue pledge 
from “Carley Carrot”

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Walkway Over Hudson played host to a number of “food rescue” organizations from the Hudson Valley Saturday, as the “Feeding the Hudson Valley” series held it inaugural event, providing an estimated 1,480 meals made from rescued produce.
Some may be unfamiliar with the term “rescued produce,” but, essentially, this event could be boiled down to a movement based on utilizing locally grown, healthy produce that would have otherwise been thrown away, not for their lack of nutritional value or consumer safety, but because they had not met the aesthetic stipulations for commercially sold produce.
The event was hosted by a number of localized community organizations with the intention to raise awareness of the impacts of under-utilized food sources, as well as the impact it has on “food-insecure” populations within the region.
Hudson Valley Regional Council Senior Planner Rich Shiafo said the event was meant as a way to address these issues together.
“What we really did was bring together a lot of people who were working on food waste, working on food recovery, and then also on food insecurity; so, then that could wrap those three issues together,” Shiafo said.
The leader of the Mid Hudson Chapter of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, and Vassar College student, Siennah Yang, said she had hopes the event would inform locals of the substantial county population suffering from food insecurity, and inspire them to be more mindful about how they treat food sources.
“Twenty-six percent of people are food insecure (in the county), and so, you have that much food waste in the area; whether it’s through farms, or through food establishments, and a huge food insecure population,” said Yang. She hopes locals will come to know the amount of wasted food and even involve themselves in efforts to reduce the underutilization of viable food products.
In addition, the many organizations that contributed to the effort, The Hudson Valley Regional Council, Dutchess County Outreach, Mid Hudson Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, and Feedback, also contributed a large amount of the leftover foods to local charity organizations.
Local organizations that received food from the event included St. John’s Reform Church of Red Hook, the Dutchess County Outreach Lunchbox, Hudson River Housing’s Hillcrest Shelter and the Lodge, as well as Victory Garden.
The local food rescue movement is growing and all local consumers are encouraged to involve themselves; or, if anything, inquire of local food providers as to the disposal of possibly good leftovers, to be more conscious when deciding to throw out food stuffs and evaluate expiration dates that may not be representative of that particular food’s actual longevity.