Editor’s Note: The Jackson Hole Eco Fair will be happening on Saturday, May 10th from 12-5pm at the base of Snow King Mountain (on the baseball field) in the Town of Jackson. We will be there displaying our veggie oil trucks and there will be many other exhibitors, including Hole Food Rescue, which is profiled below by founder Alison Dunford. Check out more information on the Eco Fair and we’ll see you there on Saturday!
Words: Alison Dunford
As I replay the first time I jumped into a dumpster looking for food, my heart still races remembering the uncertainty I felt. I was a quizzical 20 year old challenging social norms, attempting to find myself as well as a “freegan” meal I suppose. Standing in that dark alley of my local health-food store, I had little foresight into what the word waste would come to mean to my personal and professional trajectory.
Fast forward five years and I am still that same curious woman, only with a better scope of the true disservice food waste inflicts on the planets’ environmental, economic and social health. The United States Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and National Resources Defense Council all report staggering statistics on food waste and hunger. From farm to fork, 40-50% of all food that circulates in the United States is thrown away. As a biodegradable product, food breaks down in the absence of oxygen (in landfills), emitting methane gas as a byproduct. The EPA estimates that pound-for-pound, methane gas is over 21 times more destructive a greenhouse toxin than carbon dioxide. Meanwhile one in six Americans go to bed hungry every night. That’s over 3,200 citizens in Teton County.
Fueled by the facts and the physical evidence of what I was uncovering in Jackson’s own dumpsters, I followed the model of food redistribution crafted by Boulder Food Rescue. Myself and about five other passionate dumpster divers put forth efforts to create a food rescue of our own. Hole Food Rescue was born June 24, 2013.
Today, ten months after conception, Hole Food Rescue is attacking food waste on multiple levels. The program started by diverting edible food from grocery stores to people in need through the Good Samaritan Mission, Jackson Cupboard, and Senior Center. The main reasons for food waste at grocery stores are overstocking, cosmetic imperfections, and approaching expiration dates. Hole Food Rescue has now partnered with Albertsons, Jackson Whole Grocer, Persephone Bakery, Great Harvest Bakery, and the Saturday Farmers Market relocating their unsellable yet edible food, seven days a week.
Hole Food Rescue is now also working to divert inedible food waste from entering the waste stream by funneling pre-consumer kitchen scraps from Jackson Hole Mountain Resorts base area restaurants (Nick Wilson’s, The General Store, 6311, and The Kids Ranch) to be used as pig and chicken feed at Haderlie Farms in Thayne, WY.
On average, Hole Food Rescue prevents 10,000 pounds of food (about 2,000 of which is animal feed) from entering the waste stream every month. In the future, Hole Food Rescue hopes to partner with more grocery stores and bakeries, helping to keep even more food from entering dumpsters, and extend our impact of supplying healthy fresh food to an even greater client base.
We always need more volunteers and support. If you’re interested or have questions please reach out. And remember, waste not, want not!