YouTube link: https://youtu.be/bca0rCtOpO4
Join us on Tuesday, October 11 at 6:00pm, as we welcome our speaker, Nina Sevilla, from National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She will share the findings of NRDC’s ground-breaking report, “Wasted: How America is Losing up to 40 Percent of its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill” and will look at how we can address this problem at the city and community level. Nina will share examples of how other cities across the U.S. are taking the lead to reduce food waste and suggest what can be done in Tucson.
Food, whether purchased from a local farmer’s market, a giant supermarket chain, or a corner bodega, whether eaten at a curbside truck or a 3-star restaurant, is something most Americans take for granted. Little consideration is given to where the food comes from, the circumstances under which it is grown, what is involved in processing it and getting it to market, or what the substantial environmental impacts are at each and every step of the way.
Across the U.S., as many of us enjoy the bountiful supply, it is estimated that some 40 million Americans are food insecure—that is lacking access to adequate and nutritious food. At the same time, over one third or approximately 35% of the food produced in the U.S. goes unsold or uneaten, wasting the resources used to produce it and creating a myriad of environmental impacts.
In particular, food loss and waste undeniably exacerbates climate change. In 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that annual U.S. food loss and waste embodied 170 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. For perspective, that is equal to the annual emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants. And, this estimate does not take into consider the fact that food rotting in landfills further emits greenhouse gases in the form of climate-damaging methane.
By decreasing food waste, we can lessen the need for new food production; reduce projected deforestation, biodiversity loss, water pollution, and scarcity; and lower greenhouse gases. Additionally, reducing food waste can go a long way in eliminating or reducing food insecurity.
As we’ll learn from our speaker, legislatures in cities and states throughout the U.S. have implemented laws that address this critical issue of food loss and waste. Alongside these governmental initiatives, nationally-recognized non-profits like the NRDC and ReFED and numerous community-based organizations are tackling the issue in innovative ways that can serve as models for a more comprehensive national approach.