Donation part of overall $350,000 commitment from Hannaford to reduce food waste and fight food insecurity by raising awareness of gleaning and its positive impact on local agriculture and hunger relief
Morristown, Vt. – Hannaford Supermarkets and the Hannaford Charitable Foundation today announced a $100,000 donation to the Vermont Gleaning Collective designed to reduce food waste and aid hunger relief in the Green Mountain State.
The donation will support the work of the Vermont Gleaning Collective, a network of organizations that collect excess produce from local farms and deliver it directly to area food pantries to provide individuals in need with increased access to healthy, fresh and locally-grown food.
The funding is one component of an overall $350,000 commitment from Hannaford to support the expansion of gleaning efforts and raise awareness about the fresh food harvesting process throughout New England and New York.
“Gleaning programs are a critical part of our food system that equally support such important pillars of our industry as agriculture, sustainability and hunger relief,” said Hannaford Supermarkets Director of Operations Samara Bushey. “Hannaford is excited to help these organizations enhance their programs, which ensure that nutritious produce that would otherwise go to waste reaches individuals in need while increasing both the amount and variety of fresh, local food available at pantries. We look forward to seeing these programs grow in the years to come as our communities become more familiar with the gleaning process and its important role in the agriculture cycle.”
Comprised of seven regional gleaning initiatives which work collaboratively as a statewide partnership of autonomous, community-based programs, including Salvation Farms in Morristown, the Vermont Gleaning Collective will use the funding to expand its reach and capacity by making investments in cold storage, trucks and staff – all of which will increase the Collective’s ability to collect, temporarily store and transport perishable food gleaned from participating farms to food pantries in remote and rural areas of the state. Funds will also be used to build the communication, collaboration and connectivity between the member programs of the Vermont Gleaning Collective.
According to the Vermont Gleaning Collective, 87 percent of food recipient sites surveyed reported that receiving gleaned produce increased their understanding of and familiarity with locally-grown, in-season produce; while 86 percent of farms surveyed indicated that the gleaning program helped to reduce their on-farm food loss.
“The members of the Vermont Gleaning Collective are honored to be selected for such a generous contribution. Hannaford’s recognition of the power of gleaning within local communities and its impact on local farms and local food systems is a terrific compliment. While gleaning serves to put valuable resources to good use and provides nutrition to those most in need of nourishment, its impact is magnified when volunteers and food recipients begin investing in the farms they have engaged with through gleaning. Thank you, Hannaford, for this important investment in our agricultural community and local food system,” said Theresa Snow, Founder and Executive Director of Salvation Farms.
Operating at the intersection of food security, nutrition and agriculture, the Vermont Gleaning Collective recovered nearly 308,000 pounds of produce from a total of 127 partner farms and served 177 food pantries during the 2020 gleaning season, which runs annually from approximately late June through early November. Additionally, this network of community-based programs moved thousands of pounds of food in 2020 in support of Covid-19 relief efforts.
“I think it is important to reduce food waste while at the same time providing access to disadvantaged community members. I strongly believe that there should not be financial barriers to accessing healthy, whole foods or at the very least ways around financial barriers, which is what gleaning services provide,” said Ryan Demarest at Naked Acre Farm in Hyde Park, Vt.
“I really appreciate that you’ve delivered food to us this year,” said John Howell of The Manor in Morrisville about their partnership with the Vermont Gleaning Collective. “During the pandemic, the costs of so many health-related items went up so much, so stretching food resources has been key. I’m so glad to be part of your network.”
The donation from Hannaford demonstrates the retailer’s continued commitment as an industry leader to hunger relief and sustainability. In April 2021, Hannaford announced that each of its 184 stores donates or diverts all food at risk of going to waste, sending no food at all to landfills.
Each Hannaford store strictly follows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Food Recovery Hierarchy, which prioritizes the rescue of surplus product for donation to food insecure individuals – generating millions of meals donated annually. Other key elements of Hannaford’s food waste diversion program include donations to local farmers for animal feed and food-to-energy conversion efforts.
Hannaford’s adherence to this process kept 65 million pounds of food waste from reaching landfills in 2020. Hannaford stores donated more than 25 million pounds of food, such as beef and chicken; fruit and vegetables; and pasta and eggs, to local hunger relief organizations in 2020.
About Hannaford Supermarkets
Hannaford Supermarkets, based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 184 stores in the Northeast. Stores are located in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Hannaford employs more than 27,000 associates. Additional information can be found at Hannaford.com.
About the Hannaford Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Hannaford Charitable Foundation is to invest in creating and sustaining healthy communities through providing support to non-profit programs that focus on the improvement of the root causes impacting the quality of life for our neighbors, customers and associates. Founded in 1994, the Foundation has given over $14 million to organizations in the New England region.
About Vermont Gleaning Collective
The Vermont Gleaning Collective collaborates as a statewide partnership of autonomous, community-based programs that glean and work in solidarity to support farmers, residents, and the food system. For more information, visit www.VermontGleaningCollective.org.