Washington, D.C. In the United States, millions of American struggle with hunger every day, despite the fact that a tremendous amount of food that is produced in this country goes to waste. Food products are often discarded on the farm if they are considered “ugly” produce, if they are overproduced, if market conditions are unfavorable or if an existing contract or retail market is lost. To respond to these issues and feed the most vulnerable, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Farm to Food Bank Act. This legislation is designed to establish food recovery networks in each state to incentivize farmers to donate their product directly to food banks to be distributed to those in need. The bill would assist farmers and ranchers by reimbursing them for the costs to produce, harvest, pack, process, store or transport to foodbanks food that is safe for consumption but does not have access to a retail market or supply chain.
“Pennsylvania farmers do a great deal to keep us fed, create jobs and drive our economy,” said Senator Casey. “The Farm to Food Bank Act is an important step in combatting food waste and will help both our farmers and those most in need by implementing commonsense steps to respond to the problems confronting food producers and feed hungry Americans. If my colleagues are serious about tackling food waste and hunger, I urge them to support swift passage of this legislation and its inclusion in the Farm Bill.”
“The more food we are able to rescue, the more meals we can put on the table for millions of Americans facing hunger. The Farm to Food Bank Act fights hunger and food insecurity, while ensuring the wholesome food farmers produce gets to families who need it most,” said Feeding America President Matt Knott. “Far too often, food that farmers have worked so hard to grow is discarded for minor imperfections. Meanwhile, there are millions of families who would appreciate that too-small apple or blemished carrot. We’re so thankful to Senator Casey for this common-sense legislation that will improve lives for people all across our country.”
“Pennsylvania is rich in agriculture, producing an abundance of fresh and nutritious food, and yet there are still 1.7 million Pennsylvanians struggling with hunger every day, nearly 500,000 of whom are children,” said Jane Clements-Smith, Executive Director, Feeding Pennsylvania. “Feeding Pennsylvania is grateful for Senator Casey’s commitment to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians have access to this healthy and nutritious food through the Farm to Food Bank Act, which will provide funding to food banks in order to access surplus product to be distributed to our most vulnerable neighbors in need.”
"As the state's largest producer of potatoes, we support the PASS program as a vehicle for increasing access to healthy and nutritious food. As part of our commitment to the world around us, we believe the program marries supporting those in need with best practices in reducing food waste,” said Julie Masser Ballay, Vice President and CFO, Sterman Masser, Inc.
Specifically, the Farm to Food Bank Act would:
- Establish a Farm to Food Bank Network in a state or region by utilizing a non-profit’s existing networks and infrastructure to aggregate, transport, store and distribute food.
- Support farmers by reimbursing them for the costs to produce, harvest, pack, process, store or transport to foodbanks food that would otherwise go to waste.
- Support food banks and emergency food providers by supplementing the products that food banks receive through The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
- Provide healthy food to those in need by incentivizing the donation of a wide variety of agriculture products including: fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, nonamenable products (such as bison, domestic deer, pheasant, quail, or domestic rabbits), dairy, fish, eggs, grains, legumes, seeds or nuts.
- Provide flexibility for states and tribes to opt in to the program and establish and manage statewide or regional systems that can respond to local needs.
- Assess the level of food waste that is occurring at the farm level through a USDA study and report to Congress to evaluate the methods of measuring food waste, standards for the volume of food waste and causal factors of food waste.