Surplus from Science Helps Feed the HungryBy
Jim De Quattro
Twenty-one tons of fresh tomatoes for the hungry are among this years
tasty, nutritious--and little-known--surpluses from crop experiments
and dietary studies at research labs of USDAs
Gleaning of high-quality foods left over from studies is among the
food recovery efforts to be highlighted Sept. 15, when Vice President
Gore and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman kick off a two-day
National Summit on Food Recovery and Gleaning in Washington, D.C.
Just a few miles north of Washington at ARS
Agricultural Research Center, 52,000 pounds of fresh produce
have been provided so far this year to a feed-the-hungry group. This
included 43,000 pounds of tomatoes as well as corn, cantaloupes,
peppers and potatoes.
The food was distributed to Food for Others, Fairfax, Va. The
organization feeds as many as 700 people at night at 14 sites in
northern Virginia, and supplies food to about 40 other organizations
in the metropolitan Washington area.
In April, when flooding devastated Grand Forks, N.D., ARS
Research Center located there was not spared. But the center
quickly gave away frozen food on hand, including more than 800 pounds
of meat and dozens of cases of cheese, produce, juice and bread
products. A school-turned-shelter in nearby Thompson, N.D., supplied
the food to people displaced from their homes by flooding. In
addition, the nutrition center has donated surplus food to Grand Forks
City Mission since 1970. Volunteers in the centers diet studies
eat a prescribed diet, and the mission receives leftover cans and
packages of items ranging from cereal to vegetables to powdered
Other gleaning efforts at ARS labs around the country include:
- Since late May, the Subtropical
Agricultural Research Center, Weslaco, Texas, has donated
2,160 pounds of cucumbers and 1,710 pounds of tomatoes to the Food
Bank of Rio Grande Valley, McAllen, Texas.
- The U.S.
National Arboretum, Washington, D.C., supplied D.C. Central
Kitchen with 400 pounds of fresh produce. It was excess from the
arboretums Youth Garden, in which about 100 local youngsters
grow vegetables for home use.
- The Avian
Disease and Oncology Laboratory Research Unit, East Lansing,
Mich., donates up to 100,000 eggs to the Greater Lansing Food Bank
- In the past 2 years, the Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory,
Fresno, Calif., has donated about 1,500 pounds of almonds, 2,000
pounds of raisins and 2,000 pounds of walnuts to homeless shelters
and food distribution centers in Fresno.