By Mathy Stanislaus
Last November I co-hosted the Food Recovery Summit, bringing businesses, non-profits, governments, and community groups together in Charleston, South Carolina to reduce the problem of wasted food. There are successful efforts underway across the country that tackle wasted food – saving money, feeding the hungry, and acting on climate change.
EPA and the US Department of Agriculture announced an ambitious national goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030. To reach our goal, we will need to harness and amplify these best practices and creative thinking. This effort is a triple win for the environment, economy, and social well-being of those who are the least fortunate among us.
We worked with numerous stakeholders to gather some of the best thinking into a resulting summary we are releasing today: U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal: A Call to Action by Stakeholders. This Call to Action records the demonstrated practices of leaders throughout the food industry, divided into the categories of production, manufacturing, retail, consumers, recovery and regulators. As its name suggests, this summary is a call to action, calling the leaders of these sectors to take the best practices, innovative ideas, and key strategies within it and, not only put them to use locally, but to scale up their efforts nationwide.
This Call to Action contains key focus areas, opportunities, demonstrated practices and suggested actions identified by experts in the private and public sector. Just a few of the innovative practices inside A Call to Action include:
- farmers starting ugly produce markets and offering gleaning opportunities
- manufacturers using technology to make food storage easier and reduce spoilage
- retailers establishing new networks to bring excess catered or unsold food to those who need it most
- communities setting up composting programs to keep food out of landfills
- advocacy groups and faith-based organizations creating recipe books, volunteer opportunities, tips and apps for consumers
- universities educating students through strategies like starting tray-less dining, offering taste tests and sharing the results of their waste audits.
Everyone has a part to play to help us reach our goal, from families to the largest food producers. The Call to Action is a first step towards creating a pathway to get us there.
To check out the U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal: A Call to Action by Stakeholders, visit: http://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/call-action-stakeholders-united-states-food-loss-waste-2030-reduction
For more on food recovery visit: www.epa.gov/foodrecovery
To learn how your organization can track food inventories and set food waste prevention goals, visit https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-frc