Partnerships are the cornerstone of NRDC’s Food Matters project. The Food Matters project collaborates with cities to achieve meaningful reductions in food waste through comprehensive policies and programs. In some cases, our primary partners are government agencies, and in others they are nonprofit organizations, but in every location, implementation of food waste reduction strategies is supported by a working group of multiple partners from the community. Our Food Matters Regional Initiative was designed to build partnerships across a geographic region and leverage those relationships to reduce food waste on a larger scale. The Regional Initiative is currently comprised of fifteen cities and counties across twelve states. In order to build and strengthen these relationships, we host convenings. After two in-person convenings in 2019, we recently held our first virtual one. We brought together more than 100 people across our three regional cohorts to share about their work to date. Attendees of the virtual convening represented over 45 government agencies and more than 70 local partners.
Exciting work is happening in Food Matters partner cities, and across the country, to reduce food waste. Five Food Matters cities have issued mayoral proclamations committing to reduce food waste. Making public commitments catalyzes action and helps get buy-in from stakeholders. Several additional cities have also made proclamations declaring today, April 28, Stop Food Waste Day.
In addition to issuing proclamations, Food Matters cities and counties are working on implementing a range of strategies to reduce food waste across EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy. Fifteen Food Matters cities and counties are working on education campaigns that will help residents prevent food from going to waste, like the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio’s Save More Than Food campaign. Eleven Food Matters cities have joined many others in signing on to the US Food Loss and Waste Action Plan – a plan that recommends policies and programs the federal government can implement or support to reduce food waste. And twelve Food Matters cities are expanding community composting options, like Washington DC’s food waste drop off sites, to ensure that food scraps return nutrients to community soil instead of rotting in landfills.
To add to our existing library of case studies on the good work being done by cities, the NRDC team is planning to create more case studies about some of the strategies mentioned above to elevate the work of our partners. We encourage you to take a look at the case studies and our other tools and help us share. We believe every day is a good day to stop food waste!