Our food supply system is a marvel in its ability to produce a wide array of great foods while at the same time laden with inefficiencies that lead to huge amounts of it being wasted. How do we get to a place where we better understand and respect the food is available for us to consume? How do we effect change in our food supply chain that matches production and delivery with actual need? How we do we pair up the reduction of the inefficiencies in our food system with the respectful filling of hungry stomachs?
For the last 25 years I have been measuring food waste through waste audits, managing food waste through large scale composting and commentating on the state of food once it crossed that imaginary threshold and became a waste. At some point it occurred to me that while composting is a great alternative to landfilling it is in fact only slightly better when you account for the monetary, environmental and social impacts food waste.
It is the sad irony of 30-40% food in our waste streams juxtaposed with hungry people, line ups at food banks and ongoing food donation campaigns that attracted me to see if there was something I could do.
To that end I am combining my professional expertise with PhD food waste reduction research. This includes better measurement of how much food is thrown out and why people throw it out. I am hoping that all of this will culminate with some common sense strategies where we better respect and better utilize this most essential of resources.
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