EPA Recognizes Wellesley’s 3R Working Group For Food Recovery Efforts

Phyllis Theermann

The EPA New England awarded a 2018 Environmental Merit Award to Wellesley’s 3R Working Group and Food for Free for their efforts in food rescue: wholesome, edible surplus food generated at schools, colleges and universities was donated to people in need. This award was given as the effort feeds many, and keeps food waste out of landfills.

In September, 2017, schools and colleges in the Metro-west area committed to this Food Rescue Initiative. Together they donated about 20,000 meals annually to the Food for Free Family Meals Program.  Wellesley Public Schools, Babson College, Bentley University, Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College, as well as their food service providers were part of this initiative.

Now that the program has reached a critical mass and is cost effective, other local institutions with leftover food are being recruited.

MassBay Community College is one of the recipients of this program, enabling students to have more reliable access to nutritious food. Food insecurity in New England ranges from 9 to 13.8 percent of the population, so this is a valuable program to replicate. The EPA New England is now working in Rhode Island on a similar collaboration.

This is an excellent example of collaboration and we congratulate the Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee, Public Works Department, Natural Resources Commission, Public Schools, Facilities Management Department, Health Department, Wellesley Green Schools and of course local colleges and universities and their food service vendors who collect leftover food and donate it to the Cambridge nonprofit Food for Free to be repackaged into single-serve meals to distribute through its Family Meals program.

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Phyllis Theermann
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