In late June, nearly 350 entrepreneurs, practitioners, policymakers, and activists from across the country gathered at Harvard Law School for the Reduce and Recover: Save Food for People Conference to further dialogue on reaching a national food waste reduction goal.
True to its name, the conference wanted to turn the conversation into action by “eating what we preach,” and see what it would take to prepare some of the conference meals with food that would otherwise go to waste.
Schools, campuses, food and beverage producers, and food banks all produce thousands of pounds of food waste each year, and typically have to pay to have the waste hauled to a central location such as a landfill. In landfills, organic matter breaks down and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that, if captured, can be a valuable source of energy. Enter Impact Bioenergy: the company’s small anaerobic digester systems, or microdigesters, convert food waste and other organic matter like paper and yard clippings into fertilizer and energy in the form of electricity, heat, and even transportation fuels.
Recently, I went to my mother-in-law’s house for a family celebration. As usual, I was called upon to bring a second dining table up from the basement to fit 14 of us. In the basement, as always, the surplus food and drink for the big meal was stored in a second refrigerator that she keeps down there.
In April, we returned to the Richmond International Raceway for a third time for a weekend of food waste diversion and recovery at the Toyota Owners 400, a NASCAR race. Coordinating food recovery at an event this size is a challenging task, but we learned lessons from two previous races in 2015 that have increased our efficiency — and the amount of food we were able to divert. The results demonstrate the important opportunity that large event venues have to reduce their environmental footprint and help those in the need in their communities.
When musician and environmental activist Jack Johnson invited us to join him for an elementary school compost lesson (and schoolyard concert) in Hawaii, we grabbed a film crew. Watch our new mini documentary to learn more about one of the music industry’s greenest musicians and how the island of Oahu deals with its food waste.
Sustainable America is thrilled to join the growing network of businesses and nonprofit partners aligning through the 1% for the Planet movement to protect and improve our world. Just like the team at 1%, we passionately believe in the power of connections and the strength of a bond between businesses and mission-driven organizations.
There have been two competing car narratives happening recently. A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported on how improvements in overall fuel economy have stalled, not surprisingly since the price of gasoline has dropped to $2 per gallon. But the options for drivers who want to buy electric vehicles are better than ever.
To help simplify and strengthen the food donation process, we have just launched the Food Rescue Locator in collaboration with our partners at EndFoodWaste.org and the Food Rescue Alliance. This free online tool allows anyone with excess food (individuals, offices, events, restaurants, you name it!) to find a nearby food rescue group they can donate to.
If something can be said to be more American than apple pie, it’s probably blue jeans. Unfortunately, the trademark denim blue color has become dependent upon toxic chemical processes. Natural indigo, the original plant source of that famous blue jean color, has been almost entirely forgotten in the textile supply chain. Stony Creek Colors, our latest investment, is working to bring back natural, American-made indigo dyes and give farmers needed opportunities to grow new, sustainable crops.
Utah is experiencing some of its worst measures of air quality in years due in large part to vehicle idling. In order to reach new drivers with the anti-idling message and get them involved in creating change, Utah State University professors started a popular poster contest program that is educating teens, spreading awareness and teaching real-world marketing skills in the process.
A group of the country’s foremost experts and business leaders concerned with food waste convened in Stanford, Calif., on March 9 for the release of a report that could be a turning point in the movement to reduce food waste in the United States. The first of its kind, the report looks at the problem of food waste through an economic lens. It analyzes the costs and benefits of various solutions to the problem and offers up strategies for putting the solutions into action. Here are some of the most exciting findings.
Lisa Curtis first encountered moringa as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger when a local woman suggested she eat the tree’s leaves to combat fatigue caused by her vegetarian diet. Soon she felt better and became an advocate for the nutritional power of moringa, a drought-tolerant tree that has provided food around the world for thousands of years. Read how Curtis’ company Kuli Kuli, our latest investment, is creating an market for moringa to improve nutrition and livelihoods of women farmers in the developing world.
One of the most popular movies of 2015 was The Martian, a story of an astronaut, stranded on Mars, who uses ingenuity to grow food in poor Martian soil, capture solar energy to extend the distance he can travel in rovers, and communicate with the public on Earth. This captivating movie has a lot in common with the year we had at Sustainable America.
Don’t let Old Man Winter put the freeze on your composting efforts! He’ll try his best to thwart you by turning your piles to ice, slowing down microbes, shooing away composting crawlies, and stealing away the sun. Still, composters with a fire for recycling food scraps can melt through any Polar Vortex, Arctic Assault or plain ol’ cold snap to make sure the job gets done. Here are a few tips and strategies for making winter composting a success from Rebecca Louie, author of Compost City.