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
Goshen, NY – Hannaford Supermarkets and the Hannaford Charitable Foundation today announced a $75,000 donation to Cornell Cooperative Extension designed to reduce food waste and aid hunger relief in New York.
The donation will support the work of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s gleaning program, which harvests and recovers excess produce that would otherwise go to waste from local farms and delivers 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 York and New England.
“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 Ean Rose. “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.”
Based in the Hudson Valley, Cornell Cooperative Extension will use the funding to purchase new cold storage units, which will help extend the life of gleaned produce and expand the program’s capacity to collect excess produce during the end-of-season harvest, while also supporting the refrigeration needs of partner food pantries.
Additionally, the cold storage unit will allow Cornell Cooperative Extension to partner with food access organizations which package and freeze portions of gleaned produce for distribution to individuals in need, thereby increasing access to fresh, healthy food during the winter months.
“Hannaford’s support right now is crucial. It will help increase consistency in the availability of fresh food in our local food access programs. That inconsistency has always been a part of distributing donated food, but the pandemic really highlighted the need for cool and cold storage. Together with Hannaford, we’ll be able to provide healthier options to more people, more often,” said Stiles Najac, Food Security Community Liaison, Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County.
Operating at the intersection of food insecurity, nutrition and agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension recovered 256,000 pounds of produce from a total of 27 partner farms and served 20 food pantries during the 2020 gleaning season, which runs annually from approximately late June through early November.
“Over the past decade, we’ve been able to donate tens of thousands of pounds of produce that would have ended up in the compost pile. We love being able to donate to local pantries and feeding our community. Gleaning isn’t just about farmers donating vegetables. It’s about taking care of our community and everyone can be involved. You just need to want to help,” said Jeff Bialis of J&A Farm in Goshen.
“The Florida Community Food Pantry has partnered with Cornell Cooperative’s gleaning program for two years. It allows us to offer a bounty of fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables to our clients. Most of the veggies are picked by local farmers and delivered to the pantry on our distribution day which reduces food waste and allows an extended life for consumption. We’ve always focused on fresh food to address the health concerns and limited financial resources of our clients, so we’re grateful that the gleaning program supports our mission,” said Beth Maas of Florida Food Pantry.
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 Cornell Cooperative Extension
Cornell Cooperative Extension and its partnerships provide programs for Orange County residents on youth and family development; nutrition, health, and food safety; community and economic vitality; and agricultural sustainability through Cornell based research. Committed to Orange County, we design programs to meet local needs to enable people to improve their lives and communities. For more information call Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County at 845-344-1234 or visit our website at www.cceorangecounty.org.