Local communities face many challenges when mitigating and adapting to climate change. Cities across the country are experiencing the effects of increased natural disasters, limited resources, sea-level rise, and other impacts. Municipalities and stakeholders have an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions and increase food security through addressing food loss and waste.
It is estimated that 4% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is attributable to uneaten food. In the U.S. and beyond, food is wasted along all parts of the supply chain. Therefore, a variety of local strategies and tools are needed to tackle this issue, including preventing food waste, connecting wholesome excess food to those who need it, and composting food scraps. Resilient cities are those that have a sustainable and equitable food system that includes a strong food recovery network and food waste reduction solutions.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recognizes the need for community resources to address food loss and waste. Through the 2018 Farm Bill, the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) established the Composting and Food Waste Reduction pilot program. The program supports projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing food waste reduction plans and composting plans. OUAIP has announced the latest funding opportunity for local governments, school districts, and Native American tribes to host pilot projects for fiscal year 2022. Applications will be accepted on Grants.gov until September 1, 2022. Learn more about the program and past recipients by visiting the webpage for Composting and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements.
Finally, and on a related note, learning from others is a great place to start exploring solutions. The USDA has compiled food loss and waste resources for farmers, businesses, consumers, schools and more. Our partners at the Environmental Protection Agency have assembled helpful links on wasted food programs across the United States and have regional representatives available to answer questions about how to reduce wasted food. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration provides important information on maintaining food safety while also avoiding food waste.
Get started today and be part of the solution to combat climate change and food loss and waste.
 Food Waste: The Challenge, REFED, refed.com/food-waste/the-challenge/#overview (last visited April 1, 2022).