Podcast 50: Ways Not To Waste 40 Percent of Our Food

Chef Ouita went to Shelburne, Vermont in September, 2016, at the invitation of the James Beard Foundation, to take part in the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. This year's Boot Camp focused on equipping chefs to lead the challenge of reducing food waste by 20 percent in ten years. Chef Ouita came home fired up to practice and encourage habits at home, in restaurants and in institutions that will reduce waste and promote beneficial behaviors like composting. Seedleaf's Ryan Koch joined us to describe the upcoming Master Community Composter Training that will equip its graduates to help us all compostmore, and compost more successfully.

Chef Ouita's notes for this episode are terrific, and we're sharing them raw:

Today, the United States spends

over $218 billion – 1.3% of GDP- growing, processing, transporting and disposing of food that is never eaten.

• Each year, 52.4 million tons of food is

sent to landfill, and an additional 10.1

million tons remains unharvested at

farms, totaling roughly 63 million tons of annual waste.

This mountain of waste grows up to two times if you

add in other food fit for people that ends up being composted, converted

into animal feed, or discarded in other ways, leading to up to 40% of all food grown being wasted.

Consumer facing businesses like restaurants, grocery stores and institutional food service waste account for about 40% of the waste. Consumers in their homes account for 43% of the waste.

$144 billion in food gets wasted in homes- food that is purchased and not eaten. Why?

As much as 55% of food purchases are unplanned, leads to over purchasing and spoilage. Bulk purchases lead to over purchasing to get a "good deal" Bad date standardization laws lead to food being thrown away before its spoiled. this accounts for almost 20% of all at home food waste


Nearly 80% of food waste comes from perishable foods, which include prepared deli items, meat, fruit, vegetables, fish, milk and dairy.

Pound per pound, fruits and vegetables are among the least expensive and fastest

spoiling foods, constituting over 40% of total food waste. Conversely, seafood and

meats are the two least wasted and most expensive food types.*

What can consumers do?

Avoid complicated recipes!

Know how to store your food and check your fridge!

Only buy what you need for 1 week

Use your freezer!

buy and use ugly vegetables!

Know what the dates mean-- sell by is not an expiration date- Montana Example

Compost as much as you can!

What can restaurants do?

smaller Portion Sizes- allow seconds!

Use ugly produce- do not insist that all vegetables be uniform

Abandon Trays in cafeterias

Get rid of all you can eat buffets


What needs to change in our Food Policies?

We need to standardize expiration dates arcoss state lines

We need uniform labeling requirements across state lines

Communities need to invest in high volume composting

Waste on farms -- unpicked or culled produce

FoodChain plans, first with GleanKY, then with farmers



Rona RobertsComment