Submitted by Mike Sigal, (Author of NY Excess Edible Food Act); Elizabeth Barr, (Greenwich Resident); Sofia Fernandez, (Greenwich 12th Grade Student)
We are writing to commend Rep. Kim Fiorello’s leadership in obtaining passage of the Connecticut Food Donation Act.
In the United States, an estimated 16 billion pounds of edible food is thrown away annually by supermarkets, while an estimated fifty million Americans, including 16 million children, go hungry every day. At the same time, fossil fuels are being burnt to transport the food to solid waste landfills, where the waste decomposes and creates environmental harmful gases.
Yet, every day supermarkets cull their shelves of perfectly edible foods in the normal course of their business because the food is excess or doesn’t meet their cosmetic standards. New York has a law making this edible food available to religious and non-profit organizations which feed the needy for free.
As a first step, the Act provides a safe harbor from lawsuits for those donating edible food for feeding the needy. Importantly, the Act also establishes a bi-partisan task force to develop a supermarket food donation program for Connecticut.
The Act was co-introduced by Rep. Fiorello, together with Rep. Dorinda Borer (Dem. West Haven). Rep. Fiorello was able to obtain the testimony from numerous Greenwich residents, as well as those in Greenwich in the food relief field, before the Legislature’s General Law Committee. Some Republicans initially had concerns about the bill being a mandate, but Rep. Fiorello and Rep. Borer worked together to craft a version that was acceptable to legislators of both parties.
Even though sponsored by a freshman legislator, the Act was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and signed by the Governor. Rep. Fiorello was also able get her nominee appointed to the bi-partisan task force established by the Act.
Greenwich and its residents and food relief organizations were at the forefront of Connecticut addressing and providing solutions to this humanitarian and environmental problem. Not many people know about this success story and the key role Rep. Fiorello played. We want to make sure the community knows what excellent work Rep. Fiorello did.
Mike Sigal, (Author of NY Excess Edible Food Act)
Elizabeth Barr, (Greenwich Resident)
Sofia Fernandez, (Greenwich 12th Grade Student)