The Office of Resilience and Sustainability (ORS) in partnership with EP FOOD has worked to create El Paso’s first food waste prevention and recovery resolution to improve access to healthy, local, affordable food while reducing waste in our community.
The resolution declares:
- 2017 as the Year of Food Waste Prevention and Recovery in El Paso
- that city staff develop a realistic food waste reduction strategy by 2018
- that a citizen led, ORS supported Regional Food Policy Council be re-established.
More than just an environmental issue, food waste also has economic and social impacts. Nationally, Americans throw away more than 25% of the food they prepare, averaging the equivalent of $2,000 per family of four annually. That means that about96 billion pounds of food are wasted each year.
The decomposition of food in landfills produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Recovery (i.e. food donations) and recycling (i.e. composting) diverts organic materials from landfills and incinerators, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Diverting recovered food can also help address food insecurity in our community. That means a significant lack of access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods for a lot of El Pasoans, which contributes to poor diets and higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases.
Some local statistics:
- The Food Insecure Report released by the USDA in 2011 indicates that El Paso County has more than 177,000 people who are food insecure and 85,000 of them are children
- 30% of El Paso County residents live in food deserts—double the state level and triple the national level
- 24% of the El Paso population are at risk for obesity
- 12% of the El Paso population are at risk for diabetes
EP FOOD is a local, grass-roots community group that was established to rescue food—pick up food that would otherwise go to waste from food donors in El Paso and deliver it to emergency food programs, helping to feed thousands of El Pasoans that face hunger, and food insecurity. This initiative would not have been possible without their help.
In only 4 short weeks, their pilot gleaning program recovered over 1,200 pounds of fresh produce in the first month from a local grocer, and distributed the produce across three different local shelters.
For more information to be involved in our local food efforts, contact the Office of Resilience and Sustainability at email@example.com