Shaunice Wall is NCL's Linda Golodner Food Safety and Nutrition Fellow
An estimated 40 percent of food goes uneaten in the United States. Between 2007 and 2014, American consumers wasted nearly 150,000 tons of food per day. Yet, 40 million Americans struggle with hunger, including 12 million children.
The Bible is replete with calls for it, our glut of food in America calls for it, and yet few of us do it. I’m not talking about praying! I’m referring to the term “gleaning.” NCL has an active campaign to reduce food waste, since Americans toss out 40 percent of the food we produce. That takes a huge toll on our farmers—who work so hard to grow our crops—and on the environment, when wasted food stuffs landfills, and it leaves the 60 million food-insecure families in America behind, when we could be feeding millions more.
It’s been nearly a year since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a national goal to cut U.S food waste in half by 2030. Since then, we have seen leaders from across the food supply chain, as well as non-profit, industry and government sectors, make impressive progress towards achieving this goal. NCL has been working hard to identify strategies for consumers who want to be part of this national movement. So, NCL is pleased that the United States Conference of Mayors recently committed to a set of resolutions that will strengthen food waste reduction plans within municipalities.
I spend a lot of time thinking about food waste and it’s lasting effects on our environment and our communities. While this may be a natural outcome of working on these issues for NCL, I don’t think it will be long before the average consumer also has this topic on the brain on a daily basis.