“Thank you for the generous donations of produce that you have given to assist us with our outreach mission. With your help we are able to provide food for needy senior citizens,” said Denise Smartt Sears from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in New Rochelle, NY.
It is a simple idea. If you have more than you need, share with those who don’t have enough. An estimated 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food. So what can be done? Amazing things can happen when you implement a simple idea by combining a love of agriculture and commitment to community with a government program.
For over 10 years, samplers working for the Pesticide Data Program, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, have been donating excess food from their samples to local organizations including food banks, homeless shelters, senior citizens centers, battered women shelters, and churches. The Program requires samples of fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products at markets and chain store distribution centers throughout the country for testing and analysis of pesticide residues on agricultural commodities in the U.S. food supply. Read more »
On June 4th, 2013, in advance of World Environment Day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe announced their agencies’ commitments to reduce, recover and recycle food waste – and called on others to join in the effort. At the event were representatives from private-sector partners and supporters, including Rio Farms, Unilever, General Mills, the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, Feeding America, and Rock and Wrap It Up!. Read more »
USDA’s 2012 Sustainability Scorecard showcases the Department’s ongoing commitment to meeting goals that reduce indirect greenhouse gas emissions, decrease energy use per square foot, increase renewable energy use, decrease potable water use per square foot, and incorporate sustainable building practices in new and existing buildings.
In 2012, USDA made significant progress in reducing indirect GHG emissions, largely associated with employee travel and commuting, resulting in an 18 percent reduction in indirect GHG emissions. In 2012, USDA consumed nearly 39,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy, which translates to enough green energy to meet more than seven percent of the Department’s electricity use. Read more »
At this very moment, an underappreciated tool for combating climate change may be hiding in your chiller drawer or at the back of your pantry. By keeping that limp carrot or dusty box of pasta out of our nation’s landfills, you can help reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates that food is the single largest component of municipal solid waste going to landfills (accounting for over 20% by weight) and that that landfills are the third largest source of methane (16% of national total). By reducing the amount of food we toss into the trash, we can help reduce these potent greenhouse gas emissions.
The benefits do not stop there, however. Read more »
Think big. Think Sear’s Tower big and then multiply by 44.
That is approximately the volume of food that is lost from the U.S. food supply annually at retail food stores, restaurants, and homes combined.
Now think of all the labor, land, water, fertilizer, and other inputs that went into growing that food. It would take far more than a mega-city of skyscrapers to contain it all. Production of wasted food pulls all these resources away from uses that may be more beneficial to society – and it generates impacts on the environment that may endanger the long-run health of the planet. The environmental footprint of food waste starts at agricultural production and extends through to food processing, transportation, retail, preparation and/or disposal, depending on where along the way the food is discarded. Read more »
What would you do with $390? I imagine that “throw it in the garbage” was not on your list of possibilities.
Nevertheless, throwing money in the garbage is what many of us do regularly when it comes to food. In 2008 the amount of uneaten food in homes and restaurants was valued at roughly $390 per U.S. consumer – more than an average month’s worth of food expenditures and almost three times the average monthly Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) benefit. By reducing our food waste, we could put some of this money back in our pockets. Read more »