Whatcom food waste goes to feed the needy

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty

Throwing edible food in the trash or even the compost is not ideal — not for the environment, not for the community and not for the bottom line. One Bellingham organization has a solution.

Sustainable Connections has started its food recovery program, where restaurants or other businesses can donate leftover alrready prepared food to feed hungry people in Whatcom County.

Food waste is a huge problem in the America. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that between 30-40 percent of the food produced in the US is wasted. In 2010, that translated to about 133 billion pounds of food becoming garbage — valued at $161 billion.

Sustainable Connections, along with several local nonprofits, is trying to reduce Whatcom Counties portion of that number.

Sustainable Connections has a grant from the state Department of Ecology for a new initiative called Squatch Food Waste, aimed at reducing the amount of food that’s thrown away.

The Squatch Food Waste  involves several programs for business and individuals: individuals can pledge to reduce the amount of food they throw away, and get tips, including smarter shopping, storing food better, using food scraps and, donating unwanted food.

Restaurants always want to only buy the food they need, but that's not easy. Restaurants can try and predict how many customers will show up on any night, and how many of those people will want the special or soup of the day or any other dish. Most restaurants will have at least a few servings leftover at the end of the night.

Combining these leftovers from many restaurants around town, that can add up to a lot of food for hungry people in need.

Sustainable Connections and the Ferndale nonprofit Miracle Food Network volunteers pick up food up and distribute it to the organizations that feed people.

They try to serve the food the same day it was picked up.

More than 16 businesses have signed up for the food recovery program and hopes are more will join in. Any local business that makes prepared food can participate.

Lighthouse Mission Ministries, Miracle Food Network, Northwest Youth Services, Ferndale Food Bank and Foothill Community Partnership are the nonprofit groups receiving the donated food at this time.

Businesses get to deduct the cost of the donated leftover food instead of throwing it out helping their bottom line.


Businesses face little liability in the program, a federal law protects donors who, in good faith, give food to a legitimate non-profit organization.

Boundary Bay Brewery has been in the program for more than two months.

Restaurants on a regular pickup route can donate as little as five servings.

The Mt. Baker Care Center, an assisted living facility, was the first business to sign onto the food recovery initiative. Volunteers from the program come to pick up the center’s leftovers right after dinner service.


Hopefully, this service will expand here and nationwide.


Thanks Michael Stern via flicker.com for the image


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Local News and Events
Washington Whatcom County Bellingham

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I am so happy to hear about something like that, so much food goes to waste and people that could use it should not starve.

Jul 19, 2018 11:38 AM #1
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Michael: This is SUCH a good idea! It puts the problem of how to feed the needy right out there with no excuses NOT to do it!! I myself feel so guilty if I cannot use all the food in my refridgerator so I can imagine that restaurants and the like also have some form of guilt when it comes to throwing food away....This is the perfect answer to a HUGE problem!! I need to check into to it here--there is a misconception as to the number of needy here in this most expensive of all American communities but we have a shadow population here who suffers immeasurably, especially in the winter! Thanks for writing this post and sharing the idea with us here on AR

Jul 22, 2018 02:14 PM #2
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

That's a phenomenal program to feed the needy in Whatcom County. It would be great if this idea spreads nationwide.

Aug 01, 2018 08:02 PM #3
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Michael Eisenberg - What a great idea! My heart goes out to all the hungry children and the seniors of the world abandoned by family members. I think if we could fix the hunger problem, people would be healthier, happier, and wiser about sustainability. 

Oct 17, 2018 08:11 PM #4
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

This is a really great program and more and more cities are learning to do something about the food waste.  It just makes a lot of sense.

Oct 27, 2018 02:07 AM #5
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Michael Eisenberg

Bellingham Real Estate Guy
Want to find the most affordable homes in Bellingham?
Spam prevention

Additional Information