Every fall, farmers in Washington throw away a sizable portion of the apples they grow. In 2015, thanks to the West Coast port slowdown and a lack of refrigeration, farmers in the state dumped an estimated $100 million worth of the fruit (or 143,000 bushels) in fields where they were left to rot, causing the nearby town to smell like rancid fruit for days. Read more
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Making use of leftovers this time of year can be hard. Now imagine that instead of finishing your family’s extra mashed potatoes and gravy, you’re in charge of the extra food produced by a school or hospital.
That’s where an organization like Rescuing Leftover Cuisine comes in. The New York-based nonprofit has recruited thousands of volunteers to help it act as the middleman between restaurants, grocery stores, catering companies, hospitals, movie sets, and other organizations that have leftover food, and institutions like homeless shelters and food pantries. The organization has “rescued” and donated 290,000 pounds of food since it started in late 2012. Read more
In October, chef and restaurant owner, Mario Batali and Delaware-based brewer Sam Calagione launched a new experiment: beer made out of food waste.
Calagione is the owner of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and the personality behind a new web series called That’s Odd…Let’s Drink It!, which follows his efforts to create collaborative brews with celebrities of various backgrounds. Read more
The holidays are a busy time—but many of us also paradoxically read more this time of year, thanks to travel, time off, and a slowed-down inbox. If you’re looking for your next big read or a gift for a food-minded friend, look no further. We asked our editors and contributors to recommend some of the books they enjoyed most this year. Read more
Imagine a food system that is capable of sustaining itself—and the people it supports—indefinitely. That’s what Dustin Fedako, founder and CEO of the Compost Pedallers, hopes to build in Austin, Texas.
As the company’s name implies, the Compost Pedallers sends a team of bicyclists around to homes and businesses, where they collect kitchen and yard scraps and pedal them directly to Austin urban farms and community gardens. Over the past three years, using only bikes, Fedako says the company has diverted half a million pounds of waste from landfills and donated $13,000 worth of natural fertilizers to local growers.
Since Sam Kass left his position as assistant White House chef and executive director of the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign late last year, he has had no shortage of things to do. For one, he’s preparing to join the NBC News team as a senior food analyst. But first, Kass is planning some very important meals.
This December, 25,000 delegates from 190 nations will be meeting in Paris for the United Nation’s Conference of Parties or COP 21. The goal is to ensure every nation takes action to keep the average global temperature increase below 2 degrees centigrade by achieving a “binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.” Read more
Dana Gunders has been talking about food waste since before it was hot. After helping elevate the issue with a groundbreaking report in 2012, this staff scientist for the Food & Agriculture Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), recognized the lack of cohesive information for consumers about the topic. So she got to work crafting a practical, user-friendly guide to help people identify their own habits and use more of the food they buy. Read more
Salad greens have been getting a bad wrap in the news lately. Not only are pre-cut greens notoriously risky from a food safety perspective (Since the 2006 E. coli outbreak, all bagged lettuce now gets triple washed, but a 2010 Consumer Reports study says that spinach and other greens still harbor dangerous bacteria), but they also require considerably more water and other resources than head lettuce. Worst of all: A great deal of it goes to waste. According to the Washington Post, as much as 1 billion pounds go to waste every year. Read more
You don’t have to dumpster dive to know that supermarkets send a steady stream of uneaten food to landfills.
Once there, the waste does more than smell bad. It also contributes to climate change by emitting methane, a greenhouse gas that is around 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In fact, landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency (one reason the USDA recently pledged to reduce food waste 50 percent nationally by 2030). Read more