A coalition of food activists wants Evanston aldermen to require local supermarkets to turn over unsold food for distribution to the poor.

Bobby Burns of the Plates Over Waste group says they’ll hold a planning session tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Coffee Lab, 910 Noyes St., to plan what they’ll say when they pitch the idea to aldermen during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

The group claims that Evanston produces 270 tons of food waste a week — which would work out to about 7.2 pounds per person — while one in seven residents suffers from food insecurity.

Some local stores already have voluntary programs in which they provide surplus food to local food kitchens

Other than Campus Kitchen, which redistributes food from the Sodexo dining halls at Northwestern University, none of the local food banks are listed as partners in the Plates Over Waste group.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Food Police

    I don't believe that Evanston would have the authority to force anybody to comply with the wishes of an extremest group.

    1. Hi Skip,
      Hi Skip,

      I wish you had come to the event and listened to the discussion! We are far from extremist, we’re looking for a pragmatic solution to our food waste problem. Please reach out to us, it seems like you’d have some great insight to add to our discussion.

      1. I don’t disagree with your

        I don't disagree with your cause but I do disagree with the any legal authority to force people or businesses to comply.

        Good luck.

  2. Plates Over Waste
    Hello Mr. Smith,

    Thank you for writing about this event. I wanted to add a few details:

    1. Not simply unsold food, but edible food the store has already decided will be thrown out.

    2. Working men and women can can also be food insecure.

    3. We reached out to many local food banks that haven’t replied. If we’re given permission, we will happily list any local organization as a partner.

    4. All of us are committed to working with the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, and the business community at large, to come up with a reasonable solution. This campaign will include not exclude the business community.

    1. voluntary

      The city should not compel any business to turn over products they have purchased.  The business should want to do right by the community by donating to those in need.  If not, then that is their perogative – they paid for the products,  they should be able to do whatever they want with them,  (legally of course). 

  3. Enough for now

    I am with Skip W on this. The city already has too many fees and regulation, both for businesses and individuals. Individuals and Organizations should not be FORCED to do good work. Put your information out there for those that are interested and they might contribute. But don't force your views on everyone.

    It seems that soon everything will be regulated or taxed. From affordable housing to whatever. Enough for now.

    1. 1. The city already has too

      1. The city already has too many fees and regulation? I agree

      2. Individuals and organizations should not be forced to do good work? We've discussed the possibility of an incentive program.

      I'm taking notes and I will bring these understandable concerns up at the next meeting. You can also speak at our next meeting. Eveyone gets an equal share of the floor.


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