The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently announced that it will make up to $9.5 million available for Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) pilot projects for the fiscal year 2023. These cooperative agreements aim to support projects that test strategies for implementing and planning municipal compost and food waste reduction plans. The USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) will be accepting applications for these projects until June 15, 2023, on Grants.gov. The projects are expected to span two years, with a start date of December 1, 2023, and a completion date of December 1, 2025. These cooperative agreements reflect the USDA’s broader efforts to support urban agriculture and reduce food waste in the country. According to NRCS Chief Terry Cosby, the projects will help communities to reduce and divert food waste from landfills, contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly food system.
Reducing food waste has gained increasing attention in recent years, with significant efforts being made worldwide to minimize waste throughout the food supply chain. The USDA’s CFWR pilot projects are critical in supporting communities to achieve this goal, providing much-needed funding to implement and test strategies for reducing waste and composting. With the projects spanning two years, they offer a long-term solution to tackling the problem of waste in the United States while promoting urban agriculture. By working with local communities, the USDA hopes to support the development of a more sustainable and efficient food system where less food goes to waste and resources are used more effectively to feed a growing population.
How Much Is Wasted In America & The World?
Around 3.6 billion pounds of food is rescued each year, helping redistribute surplus food to needy people. However, despite these efforts, the United States still wastes a staggering 119 billion pounds of food each year, which equates to over 130 billion meals and more than $408 billion in food being thrown away. This is a significant problem, with almost 40% of all food in America going to waste. To address this issue, better supply chain organization, improved soil management, and more creativity are needed to ensure food is not unnecessarily wasted.
The issue of waste is not just limited to the United States, as over a third of all food produced globally (~2.5 billion tons) is lost or wasted each year. Of this, one-third occurs during the food production stage. With the world’s population estimated to be more than 8Bn billion people, providing everyone with 1.4 kilograms of food per day, excluding water, would require approximately 3.7 billion metric tons yearly. However, with so much food going to waste, it is essential to adopt more sustainable practices throughout the entire food supply chain, from production to consumption, to ensure that food resources are used efficiently and effectively to feed the world’s growing population.
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash
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