This week, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer signed a proclamation declaring April “Food Waste Reduction Month.”
The City’s Office of Sustainability is working with our local Food Waste Solutions group alongside other innovative cities in the Southeast to develop and implement food waste initiatives. This “Food Matters” project is facilitated through the Natural Resource Defense Council.
Food waste is simply food that is grown but not eaten. There are many reasons good food becomes food waste: food that is purchased but forgotten and left to spoil, food prepared at a restaurant, retailer, or at home but is not consumed, and food grown at the farm but spoiled or wasted in transit. Importantly, much of our food waste is preventable, and options exist for edible food redistribution or inedible food recycling.
An estimated 57,500 tons of food waste is generated in Buncombe County each year, which accounts for approximately a quarter of commercial and residential landfill waste. Across the whole food supply chain, America tosses more than 400 pounds of food per person per year for a total cost of $218 billion.
Keeping food waste out of the landfill is an important way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Edible food surplus can feed hungry neighbors, collected food scraps can be recycled into compost to enrich the soil of local farms and gardens, and smart shopping and food storage strategies can reduce food waste at home.
This April, you can join the #AVLFoodWasteChallenge!
Take a picture of your food waste work at home, at work, or in public, post it to social media with the hashtag #AVLFoodWasteChallenge to be entered to win great prizes from local businesses! Show us your compost, freezer stocked with food to keep it from spoiling, your organized fridge, meal plan, “kitchen sink” stir fry meal, or other ways you reduce and reuse food in your life! Download a home food waste audit form from www.wncfoodwaste.org to track a week in your kitchen, take a photo and post it!
On April 15, Asheville City staff will conduct our own food waste audit at Stephen’s Lee Recreation Center, Tempie Avery Montford Center and Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center. This audit will help us see what’s going out in our trash that could have found a better home as compost or recycling.
Keep an eye out for a compost drop-off program available to the public in the coming months and you can follow the City’s Food Waste Reduction Initiative on the City’s website.
Find more information at savethefood.com.
Questions about the Food Waste Challenge? Contact Sustainability Coordinator Kiera Bulan.