Queens lawmaker wants to help farmers get surplus food to those in need during pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of unforeseen consequences around the city, state, and country, and state Senator Joseph Addabbo is working to help mitigate one of these issues that affect so many people: food waste.

News reports have shown how farmers across New York have been forced to destroy millions of pounds of their crops and dairy products that they cannot sell due to the closures of restaurants, hotels, schools and other businesses that rely on fresh food each day.

Even as farmers donate some of their surplus stock to charity organizations like Meals on Wheels, there is only so much fresh produce these programs can take in and deliver before it spoils.

“As we continue to contend with the COVID-19 crisis, we must take a look at how we can help our farmers in New York State, and the individuals in need, by getting the food to places that can use it most, so as not to waste it,” Addabbo said. “It hurts to know that so many of my constituents are food insecure during this pandemic, while millions of pounds of food and dairy products are going to waste each day. “We need to find the means necessary that will provide our state’s farmers with resources and contacts to get their food and dairy surplus to the people who need it most,” he wrote.

Addabbo hopes to put food suppliers in touch with local food pantries and distributors that service populations right in the communities that need the food the most.

“I understand that there is no way to get all of the excess food which farmers have grown delivered to the people and organizations that need it,” Addabbo said. “But any amount of food that does not get wasted and finds its way to helping hungry New Yorkers is a win. I look forward to working with the governor and the state agencies to help remedy this situation as best as possible.”