Food Recovery Public Meeting- March 4, 2015

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Dan Hoffman, County Council Member Roger Berliner, Jackie De Carlo, and Heather Bruskin

County Council Member Roger Berliner helps pour soup made from ingredients that are considered recovered food

On Wednesday, March 4 2015, the Food Recovery Working Group held its Public Meeting on “The Future of Food Recovery”. Nearly 75 attendees gathered at the Silver Spring United Methodist Church despite the arrival of a late winter storm.

The goal of this event was to share information about Community Food Rescue, a coordinated, collaborative system for recovering food before it is thrown away and redirecting it to feed the hungry. The evening’s proceedings celebrated the achievements of food recovery organizations while raising awareness about the challenges facing these essential efforts in our county. Before the start of the meeting, attendees visited information tables hosted by Food Recovery Working Group members, Family Services, Inc.Rainbow Community Development Center, Manna Food CenterCelestial MANNAgrowingSOUL, and Interfaith Works.

Their displays highlighted these organizations’ use of recovered food to feed those in need as well as redirecting food scraps to farm animals and compost instead of the landfill. In addition, Manna Food Center created a display onstage visually representing the amount and variety of food they recover every day and growingSOUL illustrated the amount of food they compost weekly.


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County Council Member Roger Berliner helps pour soup made from ingredients that are considered recovered food

Food Council Chair Daniel Hoffman introduced the three special guests in attendance, State Senator Richard Madaleno Jr. and County Councilmembers Sidney Katz and Roger Berliner, who all gave warm welcomes and later served soup to the meeting attendees. Following the welcome, four featured speakers shared their personal experiences participating in food recovery. These speakers represented the varied participants in the food recovery process- donor, non-profit organization, and community members:
  • Jill McCarthy, Coordinator of Purpose & Mission, Whole Foods Market; 
  • Kit Wood, Owner, Green Plate Catering;
  • Manny de la Rosa, Chef at Shepherd’s Table; as well as a local mother who regularly receives food from Rainbow Community Development Center. 

The Community Food Rescue video was then shown and afterward attendees were treated to tastes of donated recovered food. The menu was prepared from donated recovered food- produce that would otherwise been thrown away- that had been transformed into muffins, jams, dried apples, and soup by growingSOUL, which regularly prepares and provides this food for Shepherd’s Table.

After the refreshment break, Mark Hodge, Food Council Member and Chair of the Food Recovery Working Group provided the audience with an overview of the food recovery process and information on how the community can support these important efforts.

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A sample of the amount of food that Manna Food Center rescues daily

Jackie DeCarlo, Food Council Member and Executive Director of Manna Food Center, then highlighted the impressive achievements of Community Food Rescue’s first year and its ambitious plans for 2015, which include implementing a web-based matching system for food donors, food recipients, and volunteer food runners; launching a recognition program for food donors; and providing training on safe food handling. DeCarlo also announced that in 2015 Community Food Rescue will again offer capacity building grants for food recovery organizations. Applications are now available and accepted through May 11; visit their website for more information: http://communityfoodrescue.org/blog/apply-for-a-mini-grant-2.

Hodge reflected on the meeting’s success:
“Despite the weather, it was well attended by many stakeholders and community members interested in the growing food recovery effort in Montgomery County.  As Chair of this workgroup, I want to thank the many organizations and individuals who shared their great work at the public meeting and I look forward to continuing to build on our successes.”

The Montgomery County Food Council thanks everyone who came out on a snowy evening for the meeting. We encourage all members of the public to attend our our next Public Meeting on May 19th from 7-9pm at the same location (8900 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring) on “Healthy Food Initiatives for Montgomery County Children,” hosted by our Food Literacy Working Group. Check back on the website for more information.


For more pictures of the meeting, please visit the Community Food Rescue Facebook Page