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10/26/2017 Marszalkowski to lead panel studying strategies to steer excess food toward hungry
Panel was created as result of legislation sponsored by Rep. Lauren Carson
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Alex Marszalkowski has been elected chairman of the newly appointed Special Legislative Commission to Study Implementation of a Food Recovery Incentive Program.

The commission is to study and provide recommendations for the steps necessary to remove barriers, and provide incentives to implement and increase food recovery and donations in Rhode Island. It was created as a result of a resolution (2017-H 5421) sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson and approved by the House of Representatives in May to identify how to prevent usable food from taking up dwindling space at the Central Landfill and instead get it to those who are hungry.

“As a farmer, I’m keenly aware of the importance of avoiding waste. I’m very interested in solving the problems in the food stream that result in good food getting thrown away while people are going hungry in the same community. This kind of waste is senseless and harmful, but is often compelled by regulations about food safety and by the potential for litigation. Our commission will look for ways to eliminate the roadblocks while maintaining safety, and help businesses and organizations get excess food to people in need, instead of dumping it in the landfill,” said Chairman Marszalkowski (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland).

Said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), “With the state’s landfill on track to be completely full by 2038, it is absolutely imperative that we do more to divert anything that we can avoid dumping there. Thirty percent of what goes into the Central Landfill is food. At the same time, 12 percent of Rhode Islanders are food insecure, meaning they often don’t know where their next meal will come from. I’m sure there are things we could be doing that would take that food from being part of one problem and turn it into part of a solution to the other. We need to figure out how to do that safely and efficiently.”

The commission, which recently had its first organizational meeting, also includes Vice Chairwoman Rep. Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), Rep. Robert B. Lancia (R-Dist. 16, Cranston), Lauren Conkey of the Department of Health, Dr. Kathleen Gorman of the University of Rhode Island Feinstein Center for A Hunger Free America, Andrew Schiff of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Steven Arthurs of the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association, Paul DeRoche of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Bridget Sweet of Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts, Antonia Bryson of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, Dale Venturini of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, Rhode Island Director of Food Strategy Sue AnderBois and Joseph Reposa of Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation.

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923