More than 42 million Americans face hunger every day including 1 in 6 children. Meanwhile, 35% of the food produced in the United States every year is wasted, which is linked to climate change and contributes to land, air, and water pollution. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization Move for Hunger has a vision of creating a more sustainable future by fostering community partnerships, changing the way entire industries do business, and challenge millions of people to confront the issues of hunger and food waste and providing them with opportunities to take action.
Move for Hunger’s Executive Director and Founder Adam Lowy created the nonprofit in 2009 while working for his family’s New Jersey moving company and seeing so much stuff including food being wasted when people moved. Lowy, who has a fierce passion for helping others, sprang into action by creating a network of charitable givers to donate food to local food banks.
In 2021 alone, Move for Hunger collected and delivered 4,674,804 pounds of food; 3,895,670 meals were created from that food, which resulted in the removal of 688 metric tons of Co2 off the roads for the year. They also collected and distributed 703,574 lbs of fresh food to food pantries.
Marginalized communities have dealt with poverty and food insecurity at a much higher rates than white people. Why is that?
Throughout history, marginalized communities have faced systemic racism and discrimination when it comes to education, employment, housing, healthcare, etc. These historical actions have created a foundation that can still be felt today against these marginalized groups, which ties into the fact that hunger is a symptom of poverty.
What impact does hunger, and food security have on the environment?
More than 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions are produced by agricultural activity. We’re wasting upwards of 35% of all food made in the United States, which is needlessly contributing to climate change. On top of that, we’re also squandering resources – 21% of all fresh water, 18% of cropland, and 19% of fertilizer – in the service of producing food that will only end up in the trash.
What are some of the ways people can get involved and act in the fight against hunger?
There are so many ways to get involved! The biggest piece of advice I would give is to really focus on reducing food waste in your own home, especially since about 43% of food waste occurs at home. You can also host a food drive to raise donations for your local communities or donate to a worthy cause!
According to the USDA, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. What are some of the negative impacts that food waste can have for food security, the environment and climate change?
Food waste is way more harmful for our environment that people think it is. A good comparison for how harmful it is, is that if food scraps were eliminated from landfills, the reduction in greenhouse emissions would be equivalent to removing 20% of all the cars in the U.S. from the road. If each state could implement legislation similar to Senate Bill 1383 in San Diego, which requires grocery stores and other food suppliers to donate all edible food waste to food rescue organizations or food banks, imagine the decline in food waste AND food insecurity we’d experience. If we recovered about half of the food being wasted (46 billion pounds), we could feed every hungry person in the United States 3 meals a day, every day. It’s insane that we have the solution in our hands, yet businesses are taking a $74 billion loss on food waste every year.
How has Move for Hunger changed the narrative on hunger and food waste and their affects on the environment?
Since 2009, we’ve expanded to every state in the U.S. and have provided more than 22 million meals to food banks and pantries, and that’s all been through the hard work of our network, partners, and team. Move For Hunger alone has also removed about 5,100 tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. We work really hard to make an impact and raise awareness to the effects of hunger. Not many people understand that hunger doesn’t just impact the hungry – it affects everyone in the community.
What are some of the ways we can reduce food waste?
The most simple thing you can do to reduce food waste is to donate your unused, unopened nonperishable items to local food banks and pantries. You can also make sure you’re knowledgeable about how to properly store food and know how to read expiration labels! Simple rule of thumb: only buy what you need, and eat what you buy. If you do that, we can eliminate food waste at home.