Feeding the 5000 event held in Portland, Maine to bring attention to Food Waste

Portland proved that there is such a thing as a free lunch during their recent Feeding the 5000 event in Monument Square where from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm on Friday, October 7th volunteers served up soup made from vegetables gleaned from local farms.

What is gleaning you ask? You may not be asking, but I was unfamiliar with the word before this event.  Gleaning, as described in the Let’s Glean Brochure on the USDA website is “the act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants, state/county fairs, or any other sources in order to provide it to those in need“.

The event is designed to raise awareness of food waste issues and, in addition to the free lunch, there were resources and presentations related to the topic. We arrived in the afternoon and were able to catch Courtney Kennedy of Good Shepherd Food Bank/Cooking Matters Maine talk about making the most of your food budget. We also enjoyed the end of Christine Burns Rudalevige’s cooking demonstration where she made carrot soup, and I learned the proper way to use an immersion blender.

Vendors and resources were setup along monument square providing more information on topics related to reducing food waste. We talked a bit with the representative from the Natural Resource Council of Maine about their campaign to raise awareness about use by and sell by dates, and how they are not indicative that food is no longer good to eat but often arbitration dates. This one hit home for me as my husband is happy to use food well past a use by date but it’s always made me a bit nervous although my view has been changing in recent years and this helped reinforce that shift for me.

We also stopped into the Garbage to Garden booth to get more information on their composting service. I was already familiar with their service but wanted to talk more about possible drop off options since they don’t yet service our town. We are lucky, in that there are actually two businesses that offer composting services in this area – We Compost It! and Garbage to Garden. Both business have won the Portland Buy Local Environmental Hero Indie Biz Award (in 2015 and 2016 respectively).

This event was a huge undertaking with volunteers spending time both prior to and at the event to help it all come together. Volunteers went to local farms to glean vegetables, participated in chopping parties, and took part in various other activities during the event itself. It was a great event and I hope to see more activities that help bring attention to this important issue. It’s really heartbreaking how much food is wasted and never eaten.

Feeding the 5000

Feeding the 5000


things to know
Organization Feeding the 5000 USA
Event Location Monument Square | Portland, Maine
Date October 7, 2016
Website Feeding the 5000 USA
Favorite ♥ Learning More About Reducing Food Waste

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