How to fix food supply chains? Make them more local

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

Food banks in Illinois got a special treat last year: more than 600,000 pounds of peaches, nectarines and apples. Marred by a dimple here or there, the fruit was bounty that previously might have been left to rot, deemed unsuitable for grocery stores.

Instead, a three-year pilot program distributed tons of such fresh fruit to food pantries, shelters, senior centers and other groups serving people in need. The Farm to Food Bank project shores up local supply chains by creating another market for local growers, while also eliminating food waste and relieving hunger…

Each year, the US generates about 229 million tons of surplus food — unsold or uneaten food — worth $408 billion, according to nonprofit ReFED. Farms generate 21%, or 17 million tons, of that food. Some 45% of Illinois farmers leave unmarketable produce in the field and 61% are looking for other outlets for their goods, according to a 2021 survey by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois.

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