With more than 560 eateries serving nearly 37,000 different recipes to guests at Walt Disney World Resort, there will always be dishes not offered in Central Florida’s tourist destinations. But what happens to extra food at Walt Disney World (WDW)?
Special Disney foods ride a different kind of attraction, from lettuce and cucumbers grown at Epcot’s Living with the Land attraction, to dairy products not served in kitchens at WDW. A delivery truck is loaded for the drive to Second Harvest Food Bank, an Orlando-based food company. A bank that serves food-insecure families in his six counties in central Florida.
Second Harvest Chief Development Officer Greg Higgerson told Yahoo Life: “I can count all the corporate partners that really cover all the foundations a food bank needs to operate: volunteers, money, food. I’ll give you a few more.”
According to Higerson, Second Harvest will distribute more than 1 million meals in 2021, averaging 250,000 to 300,000 meals a day, and people who depend on resources such as soup kitchens, emergency pantries and shelters to survive. was provided to Donations come from large Florida-based companies like WDW, as well as contributions from growers, manufacturers, state governments and individuals.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about the food,” he says. “It’s about people.”
And WDW, one of the largest employers in Central Florida, has lots of people ready to help.
WDW Ambassador Ali Manion said the program, called Disney Harvest, is an ongoing partnership between Second Harvest and WDW for more than 30 years.
“In 2021, over 550 pounds of food have been donated to Second Harvest and delivered to communities,” says Mannion. “It’s a great partnership. In 2021, he has contributed nearly 3,000 volunteer hours.”
In addition to donating cooked and non-perishable foods not served at WDW, the resort also donates prepackaged and canned food in addition to financial donations, Manion said. Also, as part of his WDW’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2022, employees who volunteered to sort and pack donated food will receive a special rainbow name badge to honor their service. increase.
But the Disney Harvest program and the more than 800,000 pounds of food donated to local food banks to date are just one of the ways WDW strives to keep its eating habits sustainable. Heather Sylvester, sous chef at WDW’s Golden Oak Residential Community, says sustainable cooking practices begin before Disney food hits the table.
“Sustainability comes to us in many ways, especially in the kitchen,” says Sylvester, who manages the produce and herb garden at Golden Oak. “It’s not just food. We’re really striving for zero waste. Yes, food is the beginning — it’s our whole life — so how do you use food? How do we order our food? Is it the right amount? Are we smart when we order? Do we think twice?”
“Everything from LED lights in the kitchen to reducing power consumption,” she explains. “Are you turning on your equipment at the right time to avoid wasting energy? Are you wasting fryer oil by turning it on before you need it? It’s the many small, smart decisions that have a big impact on how we are, and pushes us towards greater sustainability.”
Sylvester, who has used the Golden Oak Garden herbs in cooking and cocktails and is currently working on a two-year asparagus growing project in the garden’s raised bed, said bees are another important part of WDW’s horticulture. I’m here. Throughout Golden Oak and his WDW grounds, bee hives are maintained behind the scenes to keep gardens fertile and keep bees away from theme parks, resorts and other public areas.
And then there’s Living with the Land at Epcot. This is where farms meet attractions that grow vegetables and raise fish such as tilapia.
“80% of the land pavilions are run by students studying horticulture, agriculture, lawn care and other botanical studies,” says Sylvester. “They come from very diverse backgrounds and run this entire building that produces thousands of pounds of food. Everyone has cucumbers, lettuce, and other relatively fast-growing things.
WDW will be highlighting these and more sustainable practices throughout Earth Month in April. planet possible series.
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