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 »
Did you throw away any food today? If so, you are not alone.
Many of us struggle to store or use up the last of the leftovers or think of something edible to do with those shriveled vegetables at the bottom of the chiller drawer. In fact, in 2010, 133 billion pounds of food in U.S. retail food stores, restaurants, and homes never made it into people’s stomachs. An estimated 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in the U.S. is wasted, in that it never reaches the intended consumers. Unfortunately, the decision to purchase and then discard food has some serious ramifications for the environment and for food security.
Together, we can do something about this. On June 4th – the day before World Environment Day – USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will launch the U.S. Food Waste Challenge and call on organizations spanning the food supply chain to join the fight against food waste. Together we can help reduce the amount of food that is sent to our landfills and increase the amounts that are recovered to help families in need. Read more »
USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum featured a weather outlook for 2013 during the final session of the two-day event in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to the 2013 outlook—which was presented by National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Anthony Artusa—USDA meteorologists Brad Rippey and Eric Luebehusen recapped some of the key U.S. and Northern Hemisphere agricultural drought highlights, respectively, from the summer of 2012. In particular, the U.S. heartland suffered through its worst agricultural drought in a generation, with effects similar to those observed in 1988. Grain corn was the hardest-hit U.S. row crop, while the livestock sector was severely affected by a lack of feed due to drought-ravaged rangeland and pastures. Meanwhile, a hotter-, drier‐than‐normal summer impacted crops from southern Europe into central and eastern Russia. Hardest-hit crops included corn in Italy, Romania, and Bulgaria, as well as spring wheat in Russia’s Siberia District. Read more »
The theme for this year’s USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum is centered on managing risk in today’s markets. The forum will feature several international trade sessions highlighting strategies, challenges, and prospects for growth for U.S. agricultural exporters.
One of the international trade sessions, “Prospects for Export Growth in Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey,” will feature a panel of experts highlighting the many promising market opportunities for these countries. Commonly known as MIST, these markets accounted for more than 21 percent of U.S. exports with shipments reaching $29 billion compared to $18 billion only five years ago.
Panelists include Mitch Skalicky, the U.S. Wheat Associates Regional Vice President for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean; Dennis Voboril, a returning USDA agricultural counselor from Indonesia; Michael Francom, a returning agricultural attaché from South Korea; and Kyd D. Brenner of DTB Associates, LLP, discussing Turkey. Read more »
Demand for local and regional foods is strong and growing, as consumers across the country are looking for healthy food options grown and raised in their own communities. USDA has long supported this effort along with the procurement of regional foods by schools and helping them increase food literacy among the nation’s children.
These efforts will be the topic of the “Showcasing Local Foods” session at USDA’s 2013 Agriculture Outlook Forum, February 21-22, where Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will moderate a panel of speakers to discuss how local foods can lead to more nutritious diets. Lela Reichart with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will discuss the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which focuses on nutrition knowledge and related topics. USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Deborah Kane will discuss the Farm to School Program that isbringing more locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables into school cafeterias. Tom Coon, from Michigan State University, will discuss Cooperative Extension’s role in educational programs related to regional and local food systems. Read more »