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Food bank saves 32 million pounds of produce from landfill each year

NOGALES, AZ – The United States is a world leader in food waste. Approximately 146 million tons of food end up in landfills each year. A large portion of discarded food is in a rotten or “ugly” way, otherwise it is completely unhealthy to eat.

Meanwhile, nearly 40 million Americans live in food deserts without access to healthy, affordable products. But a border operation is trying to change that, one tomato stain at a time.

“You get your sweet pepper, bigger pepper, colored peppers, green peppers,” said Yolanda Soto, CEO and president. Borderlands Produce Rescue.

Product pallets are delivered all day, but with more than 40 varieties of fruits and vegetables, what ends up at Borderlands Produce Rescue is refuse – not enough for a supermarket shelf.

“All of this product comes to the United States and Canada for sale. Why something that isn’t sold is consumer-driven,” Soto said.

Inside a warehouse in Nogales, Ariz., Not far from the Mexican border, a unique food bank is giving products a second chance.

“We were able to save 30 to 40 million pounds of produce every year by going to landfill,” Soto said.

Every year, more than 120,000 trucks cross the Nogales border, bringing about $ 2.5 billion worth of fresh Mexican produce to the American market.

But before being distributed to supermarkets, many are dismissed for failing to meet industry perfection standards.

“So because you like the perfect tomato, you’re not going to go to the grocery store and buy a tomato that is missing a stalk or maybe has a black dot,” Soto said.

Millions of tons of discarded waste are dumped in landfills, with wider environmental consequences.

As food rots, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas, which accounts for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“That’s why we’re sitting here waiting for that phone to ring and say, come on, come pick up this truck of tomatoes or an truck of eggplant,” Soto said.

Borderlands rescues the product and then sells it at a great discount to people who would not be able to afford healthy fruits and vegetables.

“We have a program called Veggies R ‘Us. We’re going to ask for a $ 5 contribution for maybe 200 pounds of produce,” Soto said.

People often carry boxes of fruit and vegetables on each visit.

“It’s very cheap and as the economy is, a lot of people are out of work, people are struggling and it’s selling very cheaply,” said Francisco Gonzalez Borderlands Produce Rescue customer.

Most of the products that come from here are perfect for eating. It may not be so pretty. Slightly broken and bruised like this organic red grapefruit, for example. But everything that the food bank does not distribute, they ensure that it is not wasted.

Its farmers collect what is not suitable for food to use as animal feed.

If 95 percent of the product received by Borderlands is in good condition, it is shipped to partners across the country and is sold in 23 states under the product travel program.

“This product is traveling to Chicago or New York or Oklahoma. And so it has to be very good to be able to travel, travel and then be able to share, ”Soto said.

In his 28 years in the borderlands, Soto has seen a growing need.

He also hopes to grow, to produce, even saving, to feed more people.

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Food bank saves 32 million pounds of produce from landfill each year Source link Food bank saves 32 million pounds of produce from landfill each year

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