Fighting Food Waste with Lunch for 5000

Who says there's no free lunch?

On Tuesday, over 5,000 people gathered in Union Square to get - you guessed it - a free lunch! Participants received a bowl of ratatouille and a piece of torte, all made from vegetable scraps donated and gathered from local farms and distributors. (The food would otherwise have been sent to the landfill because it was not quite up to market standards.)

Feeding the 5000

The event, appropriately title "Feeding the 5000" was organized by Feedback, an organization founded by Tristram Stuart to end food waste, and a host of sponsors, including GRACE. Local chefs from restaurants Blue Hill and Egg and caterer Great Performances, along with organizers from City Harvest and the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, prepared the menu and prepped all the food. Before the event, City Harvest and Holy Apostles delivered 5,000 meals to New Yorkers facing hunger, then over 5,000 meals were served at Union Square. There were cooking demos and a group of students from PS 34 entertained the crowd with a song about food waste and composting. Food was provided from Baldor Specialty Foods, Hunts Point Produce Market, Donaldson Farms and Blue Hill.

The event was a great reminder that food waste is unnecessary and totally avoidable. Just because fruits and vegetables aren't perfect doesn't mean they're inedible. In fact, food waste is a huge problem in the US where we toss 40 percent of all the food we produce, costing a typical family of four about $1500 a year. That waste is especially problematic given all the water, energy and labor resources involved in getting food to our plates.

On May 18th, "Feeding The 5000" moves to Washington, DC. If you weren't able to participate in yesterday's activities, check out their upcoming events to see how you can become involved.