What’s all the food waste reduction about?

Each year City Harvest, which calls itself “the world’s first food rescue organization,” collects millions of pounds of excess food from restaurants, grocers, bakeries, manufacturers, and farms, and delivers it free of charge to community food programs across the city. The mission: To help feed the over one million New Yorkers who are hungry and malnourished. As a student of business, I found it interesting to learn how cost effectively this 33-year-old organization runs its operation and how it has extended its anti-hunger work with Healthy Neighborhoods programs.

But here’s the thing about the food waste reduction movement you may not know: It seeks to influence stakeholders throughout the food industry vertical—farms, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, and consumers. And it’s as concerned with the sustainability of the planet as it is with feeding its inhabitants.

As noted by Leslie Pascaud at Techonomy.com, food waste has long been on the minds of Europeans. Now Americans have taken note. Here are the stunning facts from the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Getting food to our tables eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten.”

And just yesterday at the Milan Expo, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the global security challenges posed by climate change and hunger among large segments of the world’s fast-growing population. He deemed as urgent the need to regulate fishing, make agriculture sustainable, eliminate waste, and get food to those who need it.

I hope this post served its intended purpose to give you some insights into the food waste reduction movement.

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