(photo courtesy of the University of Notre Dame)

South Bend-based nonprofit Cultivate Food Rescue says it saved and repurposed more than 20,000 pounds of excess food from Notre Dame Stadium during the recent home football season. The nonprofit says its has now rescued a total of two million pounds of food over four years.

In partnership with the University of Notre Dame and other suppliers, Cultivate says it rescues and distributes excess fruits, vegetables and other perishable items as well as “prepared but unserved food,” to more than 100 food bank organizations in St. Joseph, Marshall and Elkhart counties.

“For the past several years, Cultivate Food Rescue has been an incredible partner, harvesting hundreds of thousands of pounds of food from the University campus,” said Tim Sexton, associate vice president for public affairs at Notre Dame. “Cultivate’s mission is to fight hunger and reduce food waste. We are grateful for the enormous impact they are having in our region.”

The nonprofit says the rescued meals consist of a meat, vegetable, and starch.

“Our success would not be possible without the generous support of food donors like the University of Notre Dame,” said Jim Conklin, executive director and co-founder of Cultivate. “The University’s drive for sustainability was a springboard for our success.”

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40% of the food in the United States is wasted.