In a children's fable, a young woman was given the task of spinning straw into gold, an impossible challenge. A study commissioned by the Laudes Foundation says a real world alternative is available – conversion of food waste, such as rice straw and banana stems, into natural fibers for use in apparel.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stressed the need for structural changes to U.S. food distribution systems in order to tackle hunger, strengthen equity, and increase access to school meals during his keynote address Wednesday at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, a multi-day event co-sponsored by Feeding America and the Food Research & Action Center, in cooperation with the National CACFP Forum. (No paywall)
Nationwide, pork production has dropped by more than 20 percent over the last month, and industrial farmers find their barns filling up. Now, the "end for hundreds of thousands of pigs is likely to arrive in an orgy of waste that turns the stomachs of even the most pragmatic," writes Elizabeth Royte, in FERN's latest story. "Asked to describe how a farmer decides to 'depopulate' — the word of choice — a barn full of market-ready pigs, David Newman, a Missouri pig farmer and president of the National Pork Board, sighs heavily. 'It’s a tremendously emotional time to be in the livestock business. We’re trying to be creative.'”(No paywall)
With a 50-percent workforce decline at poultry plants owned by the Delaware chicken company Allen Harim, the company told poultry farmers last week that it will begin killing chickens in the field to reduce pressure on its remaining workers during the coronavirus pandemic.(No paywall)
Roughly 40 percent of all food produced ends up wasted, and now with coronavirus, it appears that the figure is going up – even while food insecurity is rising. So reports Elizabeth Royte in a FERN story with National Geographic, which digs into the bottlenecks that exist in our food system, especially when a huge portion of it shuts down. (No paywall)
The federal government generally stays away from the realm of date labels, such as "Sell by" or "Use by," on packaged food, except for infant formula. The Government Accountability Office, a congressional agency, recommended on Monday that the USDA and FDA collaborate with state and local governments for greater consumer understanding of date labels as a way to reduce food waste.
The World Resources Institute released a report Thursday that shows how the world could cut food waste by 50 percent by 2030, offering findings that are in line with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. Achieving that goal would save money, feed people more sustainably, and fight climate change.
A restaurant in Toronto is avoiding food waste by chopping menu prices on Sunday night until all the food it wants to sell is gone, much to the delight of its diners, reports Jonathan Bloom in FERN’s latest story, produced in partnership with NPR’s The Salt.(No paywall)
Among the 40 percent of all food thrown out is this statistic: America’s school lunch programs waste $5 million in food every day. FERN’s latest story, published with Grist, focuses on Nancy Deming of the Oakland Unified School District, a leader in the movement to cut school food waste and redirect the food to students and people in need. Here’s the main take-aways:
Private companies are stepping up to tackle food waste, a new report finds, but governments lag behind in the race to meet a United Nations goal of cutting wasted food in half by 2030. The report was compiled by a coalition of executives and leaders of private companies, non-profits, and government agencies, called Champions 12.3, that work to reduce food waste internationally.