BioCycle May 2016
2016 is a pivotal year in the battle against wasted food. Why? One word: Momentum. For many years, many people in many different sectors of the food system have been working within their own universes — communities, institutions, nonprofits, public agencies, businesses — to prevent and reduce wasted food, address hunger and poor nutrition, and build infrastructure to rescue and donate wholesome food, and recycle what is no longer edible. To some extent, these various universes endeavoring to tackle systemic food-related challenges did not cross paths.
In the pages of BioCycle and at BioCycle Conferences, we have been highlighting the programs, projects, products and innovations emanating from these universes — from the UK’s Love Food: Hate Waste, the U.S. EPA’s Food: Too Good To Waste and the grassroots UglyFruitAndVeg campaigns, to urban farms and community gardens breaking down food access barriers (and making and using compost to improve soil health); from commercial innovations such as LeanPath, to academic research on consumer behavior and antiquated food laws and policies; and of course, in-depth coverage on how to successfully manage food waste at composting and anaerobic digestion facilities, producing high quality soil amendments that can go back to building healthy soils to grow wholesome food.
So what is different? Critical mass. The many universes in the food system life cycle are increasingly joining forces to accelerate the pace of change. Just now, while writing the editorial, I received an email announcing South Carolina’s Food Recovery Resource Exchange, taking place on May 6 at the state’s Department of Commerce office in Columbia. Explains the announcement: “This stakeholder meeting is designed to explore opportunities for the recovery of food waste generated at every level and make real change in food waste prevention, donation and composting.”
This integration of the universes got a huge boost at last November’s Food Recovery Summit in Charleston, South Carolina. The Summit, organized/sponsored by the states of North and South Carolina, the Southeast Recycling Development Council, the U.S. EPA and BioCycle, brought together advocates from the full spectrum of universes. One task of the gathering was to assist U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a Call to Action to achieve a 50 percent reduction in food waste in the U.S. by 2030 — a goal set by the two agencies in September 2015.
Fueling the momentum coming out of the Summit are several additional developments that occurred in March and April: the March 9 release of the ReFED Roadmap, the April 4 BioCycle Wasted Food Prevention And Rescue Workshop at BioCycle WEST COAST16, and the April 20 unveiling of “Save The Food,” The Ad Council and Natural Resources Defense Council campaign. The upcoming Reduce and Recover Conference, June 28-29 in Boston, will continue to accelerate this momentum.
This is why BioCycle believes 2016 is a pivotal year in the battle against wasted food. The momentum is building and universes are colliding, catalyzing action to create systemic change.
Editor’s Note: On Saturday, April 23, the U.S. composting industry lost one of its leaders. Charles “Chuck” Wilson, CEO of A1 Organics in Eaton, Colorado, passed away unexpectedly. Chuck succeeded in creating a compost manufacturing company that serves as an industry model. And he was always available to BioCycle editors to share experiences and knowledge with our readers. Chuck, you will be missed.