Articles, videos, and reports on food access and social issues that have stuck with us long after we finished reading.

14 Food waste facts you need to know

Food waste often goes unnoticed, but 52% of fresh produce is wasted in America.

To better understand the reality of food waste, read these 14 important food waste facts.

Where to get a free Thanksgiving meal

Everyone should get to experience the post-Thanksgiving-meal food coma if they want to. But for many, the expense is just too much. If you or your friends and family members need help, these organizations will make sure your table (and your stomach) are full.

There are some steps for signing up in advance, so do it as soon as you can.

Note: many organizations haven’t released information on their Thanksgiving plans, so this is far from a comprehensive list. We’ll send out updates on Twitter and Facebook as we confirm details of other meals.

Loaves and Fishes (St. Stephen’s church in Minneapolis)

Open Arms of MN

Meals on Wheels

Union Gospel Mission: 435 University Ave E. St. Paul
register for a free bag of Thanksgiving groceries

Marie Sandvik Center at 1112 East Franklin Ave, Minneapolis

St. Matthew Lutheran Church–4101 Washington St. NE
Columbia Heights, MN 

School lunch share tables feed hungry students

There is a lot of need and a lot of waste happening at the same time in school lunchrooms. While many kids are still hungry at the end of their lunch hour, pounds of perfectly good food are being tossed out by others.

The solution? School lunch share tables.

Students who are full but still have food remaining, like apples and unopened cartons of milk, can place the unwanted food on the share table. Students who are still hungry can grab whatever they want for free.

Find out how it works and see if your local public school has a share table.

Finding a home for the ugly potato (and other ugly produce)

Some organizations are finding a way to solve food access and food waste issues at the same time.

Meet Great Plains Food Bank, a North Dakota food bank that is fighting hunger by seeing the value in ugly produce that grocery stores are tossing in the landfill.

Their story is inspiring and sheds light on how one issue could be solved with the other.

The website Eat By Date can reduce food waste

Food waste is often unintentional at home. Some packages say “best before” and others “sell by.” But when is it actually no longer safe to eat the food?

It can be confusing, so many people play it safe and just toss food out by whatever date is listed—regardless of the sell by, eat by, or best by phrase before it.

That’s a problem because food expiration dates aren’t federally regulated, so we could be wasting perfectly good food.

If you find yourself in a similar dilemma, a useful resource to check is the website Eat By Date. When in doubt, you can look up the food in question and potentially curb the amount of food that is unnecessarily wasted in your home.

Seven tips for a Thanksgiving dinner in your budget

  1. Get a frozen turkey. The biggest price tag at a Thanksgiving meal is the turkey: it makes up about 40 percent of the overall cost. You can save money by choosing  a store-brand frozen turkey instead of a fresh bird. Don’t forget to allow enough time to thaw the bird: one day in the fridge for every five pounds.
  2. Speaking of 40 percent of the cost of the meal, are you sure you need an entire turkey? You may be surprised to learn you only need a turkey breast instead. The preparation is faster and easier too! To calculate how much you need, check here.
  3. If you’re making the stuffing yourself, buy day-old bread. It’s just as good and a fraction of the cost.
  4. Potatoes are cheaper by the bag. Split them with a friend or donate extras.
  5. We’ve probably all got a jar or two of herbs in the cupboard that we’ll never use up. Instead of paying for more than you need, get herbs out of bulk bins where you can purchase only the small amounts you need.
  6. Buy canned goods ahead of time. Thanksgiving canned goods usually go on sale the week before Thanksgiving.
  7. Choose frozen over fresh. Like canned goods, frozen ingredients can cost a lot less than fresh. Not convinced they’re just as good as fresh? Check out this article.