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reduce, reuse, and recycle… food

Food recovery is a more sophisticated way of saying “food recycling”, making use of unwanted or unused food.

The most common methods of food recovery [pdf] are field gleaning, perishable food rescue or salvage (from wholesale and retail food sellers), food rescue (for prepared foods) and nonperishable food collection (food with long shelf lives). Some of these tactics are familiar to Food Not Bombs workers, food shelf volunteers or dumpster divers.

What you may not know is that under President Clinton, some United States Department of Agriculture agencies (Rural Development, the Farm Service Agency, and the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service) and AmeriCorps created a Summer of Gleaning project working with food recovery groups in twenty-two states to help recover food that would have otherwise been thrown away.

They were aided in this program by the passage in 1996 of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act which creates a federal-level protection from liability for accidental damages for people and non-profits who donate food in good faith to help feed the needy.

A person or gleaner shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the person or gleaner donates in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.

The USDA created a Citizen’s Guide to Food Recovery which includes a handy state food recovery resource directory as well as a list of state food recovery law citations (sadly unhyperlinked). Other government agencies have also published information on food recovery

Hungry and want to talk to the government about it? Their number is 1-800-GLEAN-IT

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


  1. About twenty years ago the government use to give food to the needy. They use to give canned peanutbutter. There was a recepie on the can for peanutbutter cookies. Does anyone have the recepie?

  2. i am a street evangelist ministering to the homeless and those in poverty. i am trying to find the means to donations of food, food banks, government food & supplies as well as government grants where i can buy food and personal items to help the homeless and those in poverty in my community. please give me some resources and information if you can be of any help.

  3. Hi Lenette,


    You raise good questions, but three things keep me from being able to provide you the best answer to your question:


    1) Free Government Information is set up to discuss and hopefully influence Federal information policy in the United States. We’re not set up to take reference questions on a regular basis. We have listed some organizations that do take research questions like yours. If you need more information than I give in this comment, please visit Find Gov’t Information and click on one of the links that take you to where you can ask information questions.

    2) You say you are looking for resources in your community, but didn’t tell us what that community was. On a national level, the US Department of Agriculture has a page that lists serveral places to find food banks and other food aid resources in your community.

    3) You did not leave us an e-mail address, so even if one of us volunteers was able to give you a complete answer to you, we’d have no way of getting an answer to you. Hopefully you’ll come back and see the links to "find govt info" and to the USDA food bank page.

    Best wishes for your efforts in feeding the hungry.



    "And besides all that, what we need is a decentralized, distributed system of depositing electronic files to local libraries willing to host them." — Daniel Cornwall, tipping his hat to Cato the Elder for the original quote.

  4. Thanks for submitting the recipe but thats not the one I’m lookng for.

    The one I want is on the inside label and it makes 3 dozen.

    It was a plain white label that just said peanut butter about a 64oz size can or maybe larger, and it made the best cookies.

  5. try this one I was looking for the same one .. this is what I found ..

    1 C butter ( softened )
    1 C creamy peanut butter
    1/2 C sugar
    1/2 C brown sugar
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1/4 tsp salt 1 egg
    1 & 1/2 C Flour
    1/4 tsp baking powder

    combine butter, vanilla egg peanut butter & sugars
    and mix till fluffy then add rest of dry ingridients
    mix into a dough and then shape int 1 inch balls then place them 2 inches apart and flatten them with a fork making a criss cross pattern bake them at 350 for 10 mins or till golden makes 2 doz ..
    Hope this is the one youve been looking for ..

  6. Hello

    I’m looking for the same recipe you are did anyone ever send it to you?

    The one’s I have found are close but not the right one all I remember is a cup of everything but I can’t remember what the ingredients are.

    If you have it please send it to me.

    Thank you

  7. I think this may be the right recipe becaue I know it had brown sugar!!!! I’m trying it out! Thanks

  8. Hi, when I was a kid in grammer school, our cafeteria use to sell peanut butter fudge bars. We would all go crazy over these. Even 25yrs later former students are still asking if anyone has this recipe. Someone commented that the recipe is on the can of the government peanut butter can. All I know is that the chocolate topping was very soft and smooth not just melted morsels.

  9. I remember in 1940’s elementary school we had peanut butter sandwichs that were better than any peanut butter made today.

    Does anyone have the old recipe that was used to make that peanut butter?
    None of the commercial brands even come close to the great taste.

  10. I was looking for the same recipe and found it. Here you go!

    2 1/2 CUPS FLOUR
    1/2 TEA SALT
    2 EGGS

    Mix together butter/shortening, peanut butter, sugars and eggs. Then slowly add flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well. Make small balls and press w/ fork.

    Cook in oven at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes.

  11. I am so thankful! I have always loved this recipe and have been searching for days amongst my recipe clippings scattered about! I think these will do it. I remember my dad, retired in rural No. Ca. gave me a can and as a way to use the peanut butter up I made these cookies and never wanted to make another recipe. I’m vegan now so will try to use my egg replacer and best butter replacer too! I don’t think they will affect recipe with so much peanut butter and sugar. Thanks again.

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