Northern Virginia Food Rescue is an innovative network of donor, volunteer, and distribution partners improving food resiliency and accessibility for the Northern Virginia community. Northern Virginia Food Rescue coordinates with local farmers, donors, restaurants, grocery stores, and food education experts to create a food system that will meet the needs of the Northern Virginia community. Northern Virginia Food Rescue, along with it’s army of volunteers is proud of it’s over all impact in the community:
- 38,354 Food Rescues
- 6,295,053 Total Pounds Rescued
- 25,109,935 Total Pounds Distributed into the community
- 20,924,946 Meals Provided
- 3,399,329 CO2 Mitigated
Food Rescue Programs
How it Works
- We coordinate with food donor partners who have excess foods to donate (regularly or one-time).
- We coordinate with food distribution partners on the front lines feeding those in need (weekly, monthly, pop-up).
- We publish “rescues” through our app for our volunteer Food Rescue Heroes to claim, moving the food from a Donor to a Distribution site.
In addition to what our Food Rescue Programs are getting from donors, we also work to procure bulk deliveries of items. These items can be purchased or donated but we receive them in a central location and then split the donation making sure each food distributor gets only what they need, further reducing the potential for waste. The focus of our bulk delivery purchases is to support local agriculture and businesses, feeding that money back into our community.
The Northern Virginia region is saturated with agriculture, whether that is in the form of household gardens, community gardens, small family farms, or large farms. Supporting local agriculture means we are strengthening our local food supply chain, ensuring communities will have access to food. Northern Virginia Food Rescue has partnerships with local farmers, community gardens, and farmers markets to receive donations of fresh produce as well as purchase food from them when funding allows.
Eliminating Food Waste
It is estimated that 56 percent of food waste ends up in a landfill*. Meaning 20 percent of the weight of landfills in the U.S. is from food, which when it decomposes releases methane gas, a greenhouse gas. Northern Virginia Food Rescue’s goal is to keep food from going to the landfill through a variety of means.
- Food Rescue. This is the food accessibility component of our work. Lots more information can be found on the food access page.
- Food Scraps for Farmers. If food is no longer good for human consumption, our next best option is to get that food to farmers to feed their livestock. We have begun this program in Prince William County getting food waste from restaurants, grocery stores, and food pantries to local farmers. Taking food waste and creating new forms of food.
- Composting. We are partnering with composting companies in the region to redirect household or business waste to compost. Saving food from the landfill and creating “black gold” or nutrient rich soils that capture carbon instead of releasing it in the form of greenhouse gases.
This is at the core of food resiliency. We will collaborate with existing organizations and experts in the food education space focused on healthy eating and cooking, smart shopping, gardening, and all forms of agriculture.
As we work with the stakeholders involved in our food system, we will see needs arise across a variety of sectors. We will work with our networks to advocate for and support filling these needs as they come, meaning this is an ever-expanding portion of our work.
Northern Virginia Food Rescue depends on the financial support provided by foundations, businesses, and individuals, which allows us to coordinate food rescue efforts throughout our region. Help Northern Virginia Food Rescue ensure food equity exists for all of our neighbors. Make an online donation, sponsor the Weekend Backpack Program or attend Northern Virginia Food Rescue’s 2nd annual HUNGER IS SCARY 2023 fundraiser!
(*Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2018 Fact Sheet, Assessing Trends in Materials Generation and Management in the United States, December 2020, page 4.)
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