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3 Impacts of Food Waste

Environmental impact Food decomposing in a landfill emits methane, a greenhouse gas that directly contributes to global warming. Landfills contribute to about onethird of all methane emissions in the U.S. By reducing the amount of waste that goes to the landfill, we can cut this considerably. Wasted food also means wasted resources--water and energy used to produce the food. Those resources are precious. We can’t afford to use them recklessly.

Social impact According to the Food Waste Alliance, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that nearly 50 million Americans, including 16 million children, are food insecure.” This is a solvable issue, with more than enough food produced annually to feed this portion of the population. By handling food properly, eliminating arbitrary sell-by dates, and establishing safe, reliable channels for distribution, we can provide more food to the people who really need it.

Economic impact Wasted food is lost revenue for restaurants, farms and food producers. Creating better systems means smart job creation and improved efficiency, which cuts down on costs related to overproduction and mismanagement. (Food Waste Alliance)

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provisions January/February 2018

Restaurant Industry Advocate One of the most notable advocates for change has been chef Dan Barber. In 2015, Barber created a series of WastED dinners, first at his restaurant Blue Hill and later in other cities, inviting chefs like Mario Batali and April Bloomfield to join him. This level of ‘celebrity chef’ attention was integral in raising public awareness. Likewise, "Top Chef" judge and restaurateur Tom Colicchio joined the Food Policy Action Education Fund to attempt to effect change at the policy level, working with lawmakers to adopt policies that improve food access for vulnerable populations as well as those that lessen systemic food waste in retail stores and restaurants.

Contributed by: Stephanie Ganz She is the co-owner of The Apple Cart, a Richmond, VA-based company that helps food businesses start and grow.

Provisions January/February 2018  
Provisions January/February 2018