What does food waste have to do with food justice? In a word, economics. A 2020 study by Zach Conrad, assistant professor in William & Mary’s Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences, found that an average American throws away $1,300 of food per year. Multiply that number for each individual in a household and the amount of money spent on food that ends up in the garbage could be significant for a family with limited resources. The good news is there are some fairly simple strategies to keep money in pockets and food in stomachs instead of the trash.
Those strategies are something WNC Food Waste Solutions has been exploring since its first Food Waste Summit in 2017. Because of the good work of this volunteer collaborative, the Food Waste Strategy area for the WNC Food Justice Planning Initiative has a great place to start. We will be working with WNC Food Waste Solutions to focus on expanding food waste reduction education and action, especially within rural and low-wealth communities. Our efforts will center equitable messaging and working in partnership with communities.
WNC Food Waste Solutions launched a new (and beautiful!) website recently that is a resource for opportunities, education, initiatives, events, and collaboration. The group worked with the City of Asheville in April 2021 to promote Food Waste Reduction month to raise awareness and encourage residents to perform Food Waste Audits. With focus areas on composting, restaurants and retailers, education, and redistribution, this group has laid the groundwork to work with individuals, businesses, and municipalities in our region to extend the urgent message of the necessity for food waste solutions.
The FJPI is thrilled to be working with this existing organization to expand access to opportunities for all consumers in WNC to save money and increase food security by focusing on reducing their food waste.
Written by Cathy Cleary
Cathy Cleary works with Bountiful Cities as an Outreach Coordinator. As a former professional cook she has always been interested in the impacts of food waste on everything from household economics to climate change.