Food Waste, Gleaning, and the New Economy
Posted: 11 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 6, 2016
The issues surrounding wasted and surplus food have garnered national attention leading major federal agencies to consider both how to mitigate the unintended effects as well as distribute excess food to needy populations that is otherwise discarded. In addition to these efforts, companies are recognizing new markets for "ugly foods" that may not meet traditional standards for sale. As a practice, gleaning has offered a means of managing agricultural surplus and ensuring that food donations are healthful, nutritious, and supportive of farmers. Yet, the concept of a seconds market for gleaned produce is also appealing in the sense that it can provide alternative opportunities for farmers. Because gleaning involves the community, this new market opportunity has the potential to reflect the values associated with the New Economy in the sense that it involves the sharing of resources, is socially responsible, and encourages a means of managing agricultural surplus. However, once gleaned products move from the food donation sphere to their own markets where farmers are compensated for these goods, the protections from liability that exist under federal law cease to operate. This article considers the issues associated with such a transition and how those might be remedied or considered under the law to support the practice and reflect the ideals of the New Economy.
Keywords: food waste, food recovery, New Economy, liability, gleaning, good samaritan law, food donations
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