As part of a broader effort to decrease food waste and mitigate residents’ food insecurity, Jersey City, New Jersey, announced Thursday it’s launching a citywide initiative focused on diverting food from local businesses that might otherwise get thrown out.

The city’s Department of Public Works, which manages composting, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which manages food and nutrition, is receiving technical assistance and grant support from the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, and working with the consultancy Center for EcoTechnology to map the city’s network of organizations involved in food rescue.

The initiative entails assembling a better data picture of who is involved in food rescue, to eventually determine how resources could be redistributed, city officials explained. Efforts also aims to educate businesses on how to minimize waste and boost rescue, while decreasing costs related to refrigeration, water, storage and waste removal.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a “considerable spike in food insecurity,” said Alexander Mirescu, who is managing the project within HHS. “It was high time that we really had a solid review over all the different NGOs or community groups that are engaged in food rescue,” Mirescu said. “There are a lot of different actors and stakeholders who are wanting to make a positive impact on food insecurity. And so it’s imperative for us to get a really good idea of who’s out there.”

Read the full article about food insecurity in Jersey City by Maria Rachal at Smart Cities Dive.