Sustainable America Blog

Author Archives: Amy Leibrock

How to Start a Shared Garden

Urban garden in full bloom

A Cincinnati couple made an arrangement with a friend to garden in an abandoned lot at his artist studio. Photo courtesy Jen Wendeln.

Are you planning to have a garden this year? Maybe a better question is, are you able to have a garden this year? Interest in growing food has exploded in the last decade, but getting your own plot of tomatoes or cukes going may seem impossible if you lack enough outdoor space or don’t know how to garden. Learn how millions of people are solving this problem through garden sharing.

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5 Ways to Get Involved With Food Rescue

Table of rescued food

Photo courtesy RobGreenfield.tv

As we wrap up #LoveFoodRescue month, we want to leave you with some ideas for getting involved in food rescue in your area. As a reminder, food rescue is the act of saving wholesome food that would otherwise go to waste from places like grocery stores, restaurants, markets and dining facilities and getting it to those in need. It’s a great way to cut down on food waste and help people at the same time.

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‘The Gleaners and I’: a French Food Rescue Film

During a dreary 1999-2000 winter in France, filmmaker Agnès Varda explored modern-day gleaning in the documentary The Gleaners and I. The 17-year-old gem of a film, which can be streamed on Amazon or Netflix, is worth a watch for anyone interested in the interwoven threads of waste, poverty, and human ingenuity.

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Working to Solve Food Waste? Start Here

Further With Food Further with Food: Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions

In the last few years, interest in solving the food waste issue has exploded. Research is being done, documentaries are being made, toolkits have been written, campaigns have been launched — all in an effort to reach a national goal of reducing food waste by half by 2030. Now, a public-private coalition of food waste groups has created a website to gather all of this great work in one place — furtherwithfood.org.

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Are Food Waste Bans Working?

Man putting fresh produce into a trash can

Photo: Earth Fix via Flickr

In the fight against food waste, a handful of states have enacted policies that ban some generators of food waste from sending food scraps to landfills. These laws are new, so data about their effectiveness isn’t widely available yet, but a pair of reports from Vermont and Massachusetts were released recently that show these policy solutions are making headway.

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3 Great Ideas from OpenIDEO’s Food Waste Challenge

Post it notes on desk

Photo: Larry Vincent via Flickr

There’s some great energy around solving the food waste problem lately. Case in point is OpenIDEO, which recently held a food waste challenge in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, ReFED, and The San Francisco Department of the Environment. The purpose was to tap into a global community of creative problem solvers to develop ideas that could dramatically reduce food waste. Here are three of our favorite ideas.

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Anthony Bourdain Is Producing a Food Waste Documentary

Chef Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is adding his name to a growing list of celebrity chefs working to raise awareness about the worldwide food waste problem. It was announced this week that the chef, author and host of CNN’s Parts Unknown is producing a feature-length documentary called WASTED! The Story of Food Waste, in conjunction with The Rockefeller Foundation.

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‘Farm-to-Court’ Food at the NBA’s Greenest Arena

Chef Michael Tuohy at Golden 1 Center with meat

Executive Chef Michael Tuohy's goal is to source 90 percent of Golden 1 Center's food within 150 miles.

The Sacramento Kings’ new Golden 1 Center has just set the bar very high for sustainability in sports. One aspect of its many environmental features and programs is Chef Michael Tuohy’s mission to source 90 percent of the arena’s food from within 150 miles.

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Clean Cars May Cost Less Than You Think

Chevy Spark

The Chevrolet Spark was found to be one of the most affordable and least polluting vehicles on the market today.

Yes, you can afford an alt-fuel car.

A new study released this week by Massachusetts Institute of Technology compares the lifecycle cost and emissions of owning 125 different vehicles on the market, and guess what? It turns out that clean cars are a great deal for both the environment and your pocketbook.

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How One Chef Is Fighting Food Waste at the Rio Olympics

Refettorio Gastromotiva in Rio for the 2016 Olympics

RefettoRio Gastromotiva in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Leo Aversa

As nations around the world have been preparing teams to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, chef Massimo Bottura has assembled a dream team for his own kind of sport: feeding people in need from food that would go to waste. RefettoRio Gastromotiva, which opens today in Rio, is projected to recover 12 tons of food surplus from the Olympic Village in just 44 days during the Olympics and Paralympics.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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