Jersey City has announced a “rescue mapping” effort to combat food waste and food insecurity by rescuing it from local businesses, the findings of which will be shared with other cities around the nation.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“These types of innovative partnerships highlight Jersey City’s ability to use dignity as a driving force for dealing with challenges that emerge from food insecurity and historically marginalized communities,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“Additionally, we are once again serving as the optimal urban incubator for piloting these types of innovative approaches and sharing the lessons learned with other cities and towns to help improve their own communities.”
With technical advisory support and Natural Resource Defense Council funding, Jersey City’s Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is working with nationally recognized leaders in the field of food waste reduction.
The Center for Ecotechnology has designed a methodology to identify significant players in the area of community food banks, food pantries, and other food distributors to vulnerable residents.
With this data, HHS can better direct its efforts to improve access to food for exposed populations through the Division of Food & Nutrition with support from the Department of Public Works.
“This is part of a larger effort with NRDC, which chose Jersey City to participate in this important program,” noted HHS Director Stacey Flanagan.
“This data will improve our understanding of food waste areas for HHS and DPW to focus on, as this is a joint issue. Food that is rescued will go to community agencies and the rest will get composted to significantly reduce waste.”
The program to reduce food waste compliments other efforts already underway in Jersey City, including the successful implementation of the Division of Recycling’s new composting program.
“In Jersey City, we believe that every resident plays a valuable role in the local and global environment. We strive to empower residents with the resources needed to reduce their environmental impact through the ease of access to food waste receptacles,” added Director of Division of Recycling Sonia Marte-Dublin.
“The diversion and repurposing of food waste is critical to reducing greenhouse gasses, which are released from rotting food and ultimately contribute to the effects of climate change. By increasing accessibility to composting, we are making significant strides in community sustainability by encouraging participation by people of all walks of life.”