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Montgomery County Food Recovery Plan

October 9, 2013 Green Blog No Comments



Naomi Bloch

Naomi Bloch


By: Naomi Bloch

October 9, 2013

Potomac, Md

I recently attend the press conference announcing the results of the Food Recovery Work Group, on the Rockville campus of Montgomery College.

The Food Recovery Work Group was sponsored by Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin and unanimously approved by the County Council in October 16, 2012 via Resolution 17-564. The primary goal behind Council member Ervin’s sponsorship was the establishment of the Food Recovery Work Group organized to find ways to help end hunger here in Montgomery County.

It is believed that Montgomery County is the first county in the nation to implement such a forward-looking program to address the growing problems of hunger, food waste and the interconnected issues of food distribution challenges facing communities all across this nation.

During its eight month study, The Food Recovery Work Group evaluated best practices, mapped existing resources, looked at ways to enhance communication among non-profits, organizations, service providers, and food suppliers and finally would, in addition recommend any needed legislative changes to assist in the success of these efforts

Councilmember Ervin was motivated to start a food recovery effort in Montgomery County after she saw the work that student volunteers were doing at the University of Maryland. Students Ben Simon and Mia Zavalij created a model of food redistribution, now the Food Recovery Network at the UMD-College Park campus. Since 2011, Food Recovery Network has grown to 23 chapters and redistributed 135,000 meals, and is actively working with over 70 students to start new chapters in fall 2013.

To get a look at this program in action, check out this wonderful video overview:


“When I saw the amazing job the students at University of Maryland were doing, I thought, ‘Why aren’t we doing this in Montgomery County?’” said Councilmember Ervin. “Since we have numerous public institutions and private sector partners who dispose of unwanted food, it seemed like a no brainer for the county to follow the lead of the students who began the food recovery movement.”

Here is an article that will also give you more background information: http://www.foodrecoverynetwork.org/blog/2013/09/10/frn-inspires-first-county-wide-food-recovery-program-in-nation/ as well as another recent article in the Gazette: http://www.gazette.net/article/20130903/NEWS/130909834/0/montgomery-county-to-unveil-steps-for-food-recovery-program&template=gazette 

Back in June, 2012,  a food insecurity panel discussion was organized by Gordon Clark, the founder of Montgomery Victory Gardens, http://www.montgomeryvictorygardens.org/ Councilmember Ervin was one of the panelists.

It was at this event that Ben Simon and Mia Zavalij, the co-founders of the University of Maryland Food Recovery Network, were in the audience and afterwards introduced themselves to Councilmember Ervin, thus beginning this fortuitous chain of events.

It isn’t very often when one can pinpoint the exact day when the right people and energy come together in the same place at the same time, and then goes on to create a genuine solution to a serious problem! I am so thankful to have witnessed this serendipitous coming together of the fates.

I will be keeping track of the evolution of this important program and share updates with all of you.



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