Everyone knows the “three R's”: reduce, reuse, and recycle. However, not as many know that these actions are literally listed in order of priority. When you are faced with the potential for waste, the most environmentally—and financially—sound thing to do is keep that waste from happening in the first place.
For food, this is especially true. In a report produced by Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR), entitled Guiding Principles for Recovering Value from Commercial Food Waste, we emphasize smart purchasing as a great way to reduce food waste.
But what happens when a deli or a restaurant orders more than they can sell? Or what if a farmer has some weird-looking carrots that the grocer doesn’t want? As families across the US struggle with hunger and farmers battle an historic drought, excess edible food can and must be put to its highest use wherever possible.
Enter the Zero Food Waste Forum and Feeding the 5000, events that are helping to raise awareness about reusing—as well as avoiding the production of—edible foods that can't be sold and are usually thrown away. By expanding the use and sale of "cosmetically challenged" produce; by educating businesses and the public about smart buying, cooking, and food storage practices; and by using new technologies to connect those with food to those without; we can take a big bite out of our nation's hunger and food waste (sorry, couldn't resist the pun!).
For the first time in the United States, the Zero Food Waste Forum and Feeding the 5000 will be hosted here in beautiful Berkeley and Oakland, California on October 16-18. The Forum will bring together leaders in food waste prevention for a discussion on strategies and next steps for preventing waste. Feeding the 5000, a related and 100% free awareness festival, will use rescued food to feed 5,000 people who come to Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza on October 18. I'll be there helping make sure every inedible food scrap gets composted (i.e. recycled), and I hope you can come too!