(1) The Legislature finds that: (a) Millions of pounds of surplus and slightly blemished fresh fruit and vegetables are destroyed each year, while many 1residents of this state go each day without food.
(b) Food recovery programs can beneficially aid residents of this state who lack the means to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables by providing such surplus food to governmental agencies and local volunteer and nonprofit organizations for distribution to those in need, rather than continuing to see it destroyed.
(c) The state, through the Commissioner of Agriculture, should assist food recovery programs, when needed, to aid in their establishment and to support their continued and efficient operation.
(2) A food recovery program is a local, volunteer-based organization near an agricultural production area of the state that is established for the exclusive purpose of soliciting, collecting, packaging, and delivering surplus fresh fruit and vegetables for distribution in communities throughout the state. Distribution of the food to the needy would be accomplished by governmental agencies and volunteer and nonprofit organizations.
(3) In helping to coordinate the establishment of food recovery programs, the department may:
(a) Identify suppliers, volunteers, and nonprofit organizations in the community to ascertain the level of interest in establishing a food recovery program.
(b) Provide facilities and other resources for initial organizational meetings.
(c) Provide direct and indirect support for the fledgling program, upon demonstration of serious interest at the local level.
(4) The department may provide direct and indirect support to food recovery programs that are unable to obtain specific assistance from their communities or other sources by loaning equipment, facilities, and staff resources for the collection, packaging, storage, and transportation of donated food, as needed.
(5) The department shall account for the direct and indirect costs associated with supporting food recovery programs throughout the state. It shall submit an electronic report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by November 1, for the previous fiscal year, when state funds are spent for this purpose. The report must include, but need not be limited to, the identity of organizations receiving funds, the amount of funds disbursed to these organizations, other uses of food recovery funds, and estimates of the amount of fresh produce recovered.
(6) It is the intent of the Legislature that each potential donor, to the greatest extent possible and practicable, make available to any bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization, to any representative or volunteer acting on behalf of such an organization, to an uncompensated person acting in a philanthropic manner providing services similar to those of such an organization, or to a transporter any surplus or excess canned or perishable food for use by such an organization or person to feed homeless persons or other persons who are in need of food and are otherwise unable to provide food for themselves. In achieving this intent, the following provisions must be followed:
(a) Each donor shall make every reasonable effort to contact bona fide charitable or nonprofit organizations in the community in which the donor operates in order to provide for the collection by such organizations of any surplus or excess canned food or perishable food from the donor.
(b) Each bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization in this state which provides, as a part of the services that the organization provides to the community in which it operates, food for persons who are in need of food or are otherwise unable to provide food for themselves, or which collects and transports such food to such organizations, shall make every reasonable effort to contact any donors within the organization’s area of operations for purposes of collecting any surplus or excess canned food or perishable food for use in providing such services.
(7) For public information purposes, the department shall develop a public information brochure detailing the need of food recovery programs, the benefit of food recovery programs, the manner in which such organizations may become involved in food recovery programs, the protection afforded to such programs under s. 768.136, and the food recovery entities or food banks that exist in the state. This brochure must be updated annually.