October 27, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Five-Million-Pound Milestone Reached in State’s Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Program

Governor Hochul Announces Five-Million-Pound Milestone Reached in State’s Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Program

Nation-Leading Program Helps Provide Food to Hungry New Yorkers, Reduce Greenhouse Gases in Landfilled Waste

New York State Partnership with Non-Profit Feeding New York State to Collect and Distribute Food to State’s 10 Regional Food Banks

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced Feeding New York State, the state association of New York’s 10 Feeding America member food banks, has reached the five-million-pound collection milestone as part of the ongoing implementation of the New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law that reduces waste and climate-altering emissions caused by landfilling, while providing quality food to New Yorkers in need. This latest milestone is a direct result of Department of Environmental Conservation funding to Feeding New York State to capture new food donations and help build stronger, healthier communities.

“New York State is proud to support initiatives to help ensure that families have access to healthy, quality food,” Governor Hochul said. “Under the State’s Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law, this repurpose effort supports our community food supplies while taking innovative steps to reduce greenhouse gases from landfilled waste as we continue to move forward in actions to achieve the State's ambitious climate goals. I congratulate Feeding NYS, our food scrap providers, and our state partners in reaching this extraordinary milestone."

The New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law continues to see more food managed sustainably and diverted away from disposal at the state's largest food-related businesses. To support the law’s implementation and successful food donations, DEC provided $4.8 million to Feeding New York State (Feeding NYS) and the 10 regional food banks through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to dramatically increase donations beginning in October 2021. The funds are used by Feeding NYS to deploy staff to grocery stores, restaurants, colleges, and other food industry facilities to increase participation in the program and encourage food donations. The fund also supported several equipment purchases for the 10 regional food banks to increase food pickup capabilities at food pantries, meal centers, and other partner agencies.

The partnership between New York State and Feeding NYS is a nation-leading model for food diversion programs. The implementation of the law and investments by New York to put the program into action helped successfully divert millions of pounds of food to those in need. As of October 2023, Feeding NYS reported receiving more than 300,000 pounds of monthly food donations over the last six months, with an increasing number almost every month. This is a significant increase from 50-60,000 pounds per month when the program first launched in October 2021. The program previously reached the one-million-pound food donation milestone in August 2022.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The success of New York’s food diversion efforts is helping to feed hungry people in need across the state with five million pounds of healthy food kept out of landfills. With the continued support of Governor Kathy Hochul, DEC’s ongoing efforts to divert healthy food away from landfills is helping to reduce greenhouse gases and achieve the State's ambitious climate mandates. I applaud our partners at Feeding NYS and all our state and local partners for helping grow this program for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”

Feeding NYS Executive Director Dan Egan said, “No one wants to waste perfectly good food when millions of New Yorkers are food insecure. We are fortunate that Governor Hochul is supporting our work to divert edible food to the food bank network so our neighbors can have additional wholesome food. New York State is leading the nation with our model for edible food waste recovery and reuse, benefiting the food industry, our hungry neighbors and our environment. We have recovered five million pounds so far, but we are just getting started. We expect to recover six million this fiscal year alone, and will continue expanding this program for the future.”

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The progress made under the State’s Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law is incredible, helping to bring a significant amount of food to our communities in need and benefiting our environment. At the State Department of Agriculture, we have seen firsthand the success and importance of feeding programs like Nourish New York, which brings New York farm products to those facing food insecurity and provides a boost to our farmers. This program complements that work and all of the State programs that, together with our partners, are addressing the fight against hunger while also furthering our climate agenda.”

State Senator Pete Harckham said, “This remarkable amount of food donated and collected here in New York means major benefits are being achieved: less food insecurity for residents, lower garbage collection costs and reduced greenhouse gases being emitted at our landfills. Congratulations to Feeding New York State and its state partners at the DEC for this important work and this laudable milestone. Having introduced this legislation in the Senate, I am pleased to see this initiative succeeding.”

As outlined in the draft Scoping Plan for the State's climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the release of methane from the breakdown of organic waste in landfills is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emission in the waste sector. Actions to reduce landfilling of these organics are critical to achieving New York's climate goals. Additionally, DEC also provided $1.6 million directly to emergency food relief organizations, and $5.3 million to municipalities for wasted food reduction, food donation, and food scraps recycling programs.

With big game hunting season underway across the state, New York’s hunters are reminded that they can continue to help with food insecurity by participating in venison donation efforts. Each year, DEC partners with the Venison Donation Coalition and Feeding NYS to help provide food for those in need. Through a cooperative relationship involving the New York State Department of Health, not-for-profit organizations like Feeding New York State's regional food banks, and deer processors, hunters contribute nearly 40 tons of venison each year to needy families across the state. In 2022, DEC issued more than $16,000 in hunter donated funds to Feeding NYS and more than $8,000 to the Venison Donation Coalition.

There are many ways a hunter can help feed those less fortunate. Hunters can donate their deer or part of it at a cooperating processor, support their regional food bank monetarily, or make a cash donation to the Venison Donation Coalition when purchase your hunting license to help offset the cost of processing donated venison. To learn more on how to support these programs or donate venison to help feed local families, visit the Venison Donation Coalition or Feeding New York State.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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