We are thrilled to announce that Harvard Law School will join the growing list of colleges and universities in Massachusetts and around the nation that donate excess foods to those in need, thanks to a new partnership with Cambridge-based Food For Free, a leading food recovery organization committed to rescuing food that might otherwise go to waste.
Starting September 7, 2016, wholesome, excess pre-packaged and retail foods from the Law School’s dining hall will be set aside for pick up each week from Food For Free, who will then distribute the food to various food pantries, shelters, day care centers, after-school programs, clinics, and drop-in centers in the Boston/Cambridge metro area.
Reducing food waste is a priority of the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School (FLPC), which is a national leader on providing research and cutting edge policy recommendations to reduce the waste of healthy, wholesome foods. This summer, FLPC co-hosted (with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and Recycling Works in Massachusetts) a national conference on reducing food waste. The Reduce and Recover: Save Food for People conference convened more than 350 entrepreneurs, practitioners, policymakers, and enthusiasts from around the country to further a public dialogue on reaching the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national food waste reduction goal of 50% by 2030. The event was held at Harvard Law School, and FLPC worked closely with Restaurant Associates, as well as Sustainable America, an environmental nonprofit, to source rescued food so that almost all of the meals served at the conference—nearly 1,000 meals in total—were made from rescued food.
Through the combined efforts of the Food Law and Policy Clinic, Harvard Law School’s Sustainability Manager, Restaurant Associates, and Food for Free, HLS piloted the first food donation on campus at the 2016 Commencement lunch. The pilot successfully donated 900 meals to families in need within the community. The successes of the Reduce and Recover conference and the pilot program led FLPC, Restaurant Associates, and the Harvard Law School Administration to work together in the interceding months to arrange the food donation pilot program with Food for Free as an ongoing program at HLS.
FLPC Director Emily Broad Leib said, “Food waste is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing the United States. We waste 40% of the food produced in the U.S., yet at the same time there are many families who cannot afford to put food on the table. This pilot program presents an exciting first step to recover wholesome, excess food at Harvard Law School, and I hope it will pave the way for additional opportunities to reduce food waste across the Law School. I’m grateful to the HLS Administration and Restaurant Associates for putting this program in place, and to Food for Free to work with HLS to get this food to those in need.”