AFI aims to shine a light on the critical problem of food waste in the Untied States. Recent studies, including one produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC IP:12-06-B), have found that as much as 40 percent of food grown in the U.S. goes to waste. This waste occurs on the farm, in transport, in retail stores, and in our own homes. Through our food waste project, AFI provides educational initiatives to increase awareness of the problem and provide some concrete, local solutions.
Significant on-farm waste occurs when farmers have abundant produce, which is greater than markets can absorb. It is not economically reasonable to harvest produce that cannot be sold. Through our Gleaning Program, AFI works with local farmers and community volunteers to harvest this excess produce. The produce is then processed into frozen or shelf-stable items at AFI’s South Fork Kitchens and sold at the Amagansett Farmers Market. The profits are shared with the farmers who opened up their fields to be gleaned.
In addition to the Gleaning program, AFI strives to educate consumers about ways to reduce food waste on a personal level through tips and take-away materials available at the Amagansett Farmers Market. To help reduce waste at the retail level, we create a number of value-added products from unsold produce and other goods.