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.
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.
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.
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.
Earlier this year, we launched I Value Food, a national campaign to help educate people about food waste and how to reduce it. Soon, we’ll be kicking off a project closer to home, here in Connecticut. We were just awarded a $25,000 grant from the EPA’s New England office to implement a Food: Too Good to Waste program with members of faith-based congregations in the Greater Bridgeport and Stamford areas.
Even for the most motivated among us, cutting down on food waste at home can mean changing lifelong habits of shopping, cooking and eating. Luckily, there’s a new book that can help. The Waste Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders, staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a slim, encouraging guide to wasting less food packed with practical, attainable strategies for busy people.
The U.S. industrial farming system has largely left natural fertilizers behind in favor of chemical-based fertilizers in the search for more efficiency and higher yields. But there’s a downside to increased productivity – chemicals strip the soil of its nutrients and damage the natural biome. Farmers have known for millennia that manure, compost and other organic matter benefit the soil. But solid organics are heavy and difficult to spread over the millions of acres of farmland that need it.
We’ve recently invested in a company with an exciting product that gets around both of these problems. Read more about California Safe Soil’s new Harvest-to-Harvest liquid fertilizer made from food waste.
Our staff thinks a lot about food waste at work, whether we’re researching data for the I Value Food campaign, helping events go zero waste or composting our coffee grounds in the break room. But even though we’re well versed on strategies to reduce food waste, we all still have to work hard each day to waste as little food as possible in our own lives. In order to find out what practices really work, we asked our staff to share the tips that have made the biggest difference in their own kitchens. Here’s what they said…
On Superbowl Sunday, we partnered with a local culinary competition event to help them compost their food waste. We just learned that the event diverted more than four times as much waste to compost than last year’s event — that’s 2,840 pounds of food scraps and compostable items that are being recycled into a nutrient-rich soil supplement instead of being incinerated!
The numbers are one thing to celebrate, but Chilifest has also helped us reach an important milestone as an organization. We’re now equipped with the tools and expertise to help even more events around the country compost their food waste.
We love food in this country, so it’s mind-boggling to learn that 40 percent of the food we produce never gets eaten. Especially when 49 million households deal with food insecurity every year. In an effort to tackle this pressing issue, we’ve just launched IValueFood.com, a movement that takes a fresh look at how food gets wasted and offers tools everyone can use to make a real impact on food waste, both personally and nationally.