Addressing Food Waste and Increasing Food Donation Through the New York Farm to Food Bank Tax Credit

Each year, approximately 20 billion pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in the United States go unharvested or otherwise never enter the food supply. This produce is often perfectly good to eat but is never sold because of aesthetic imperfections or other market factors. In response, the number of “farm to food bank” programs has grown rapidly over the past decade. These programs connect food banks—and other parts of the food rescue system—to local farmers, ensuring that food that would otherwise be wasted goes to those in need. To build on these good efforts and make it easier for farmers to donate, the state of New York recently enacted a tax credit for donations of agricultural products to the food recovery system to address the costs of donation. This case study provides a detailed overview of a policy campaign NRDC and our allies ran from 2015 to 2017 to enact this farm to food bank tax credit in New York. In doing so, we hope to help advocates in other states who are considering—or currently engaged in—efforts to pass similar legislation.

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