NEW YORK (WWTI) – 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

“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.”

Governor Kathy Hochul 

This law reduces waste and climate-altering emissions caused by landfilling while providing quality food to individuals 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.

The New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law continues to enable more food products to be sustainably managed and diverted from the disposal of the state’s largest food-related businesses. To support the implementation of the law and the success of food donations, DEC provided $4.8 million to Feeding New York State (Feeding NYS) and 10 regional food banks through the Food Protection Fund to significantly increase donations from October 2021.

Funds are used by Feeding NYS to deploy staff to grocery stores, restaurants, colleges and other food industry establishments to increase program participation and encourage food donations. The fund also supported several equipment purchases for the 10 regional food banks to increase food pickup opportunities at food pantries, meal centers and other partner agencies. 

The implementation of the law and New York’s investments to establish the program helped 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 past six months and that number is growing almost every month. This is a notable increase from 50-60,000 pounds per month when the program launched in October 2021. The program has already reached the one-million-pound food donation milestone in August 2022.

As noted in the draft Scoping Plan for the State’s climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the methane releases from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills are the largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, greenhouse gases, in the waste sector.

Actions to reduce deposition of these organic materials are essential to achieving New York State’s climate goals. In addition, the DEC also gave $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 hunting season underway statewide, NY’s hunters are reminded that they can continue to help with food insecurity by participating in venison donation efforts. Every year, DEC partners with the Venison Donation Coalition and Feeding NYS to 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 yearly to needy families statewide.  In 2022, DEC contributed 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:

You can learn more on how to support these programs or donate venison to help feed local families at the websites for the Venison Donation Coalition or Feeding New York State.