The Next Farm Bill can save money, reduce food waste, tackle hunger and combat climate change

Food policy leaders release a report urging Congress to address extensive food waste

Cambridge, MA, April 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Today, Harvard Law School released the Food Law and Policy Clinic, in collaboration with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), ReFED and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), “Opportunities” to Reduce Food Waste in the 2023 Farm Bill, ”a new report describing how Congress should prioritize reducing food waste in the next US Farm Bill.

Every year, Americans throw away more than a third of all food produced in or imported into the United States. Producing this waste of food consumes about 21% of all fresh water and arable land in the United States and generates about 270 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to as much as 58 million cars. Recycling only 30% of this wasted food could feed every food insecure American – about 50 million people by 2020.

Farm Bill, which is passed approximately every five years, is an omnibus law that allows more than $ 400 billion in federal funding. It is the primary legislation that addresses all aspects of the US food system. Farm Bill 2018 was the first to include some funding to reduce food waste, but much more remains to be done. “Opportunities to reduce food waste in the 2023 Farm Bill” provides specific recommendations for Congress to implement in the next farm bill in four key areas to reduce food waste: food waste prevention, surplus food recycling, food waste recycling and food waste reduction coordination. .

“We were delighted when the 2018 Farm Bill was adopted and included food waste reduction among its funding and programs for the first time ever, but even more needs to be done to ensure we reach our national goal of halving food waste by 2030,” said Professor Emily Broad. Leib, head of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and lead author of the report. “The next Farm Bill offers a two-party opportunity for Congress to build on its success by adopting reforms to further reduce food waste, reduce emissions and ensure that edible surplus food can serve those facing food insecurity. We urge decision makers to read our 22 concrete and feasible recommendations and incorporate these solutions into the proposed bill. “

Farm Bill 2023 is an opportunity for Congress to build on initiatives first implemented by 2018 Farm Bill, which prioritized reducing food waste for the first time by offering funding for local compost and food waste plans, establishing a new food loss and food waste. Liaison position at the USDA, implementation of a Farm to Food Bank program within TEFAP, and updating standards for food donations for responsibility, among other successes. “Opportunities to reduce food waste in the 2023 Farm Bill” offers congressional recommendations on how to promote these efforts.

Farm Bill provides a great opportunity to improve our food system. With up to 40% of our food supply being wasted, incorporating strategies to reduce food waste in the bill can ensure that more food goes to feed people, ”states Yvette Cabrera, co-author of the report and director of food waste at NRDC. “Adopting these solutions to reduce food waste also means we can keep organic matter away from landfills and incinerators, where they produce climate change emissions, and recycle them to help build healthy soil. Our report outlines two-party policies that can make a real difference to the health and safety of our planet and our communities. “

“The Farm Bill is the largest piece of food-related legislation in the United States, and it’s the core of how our food system works,” said Dana Gunders, CEO of ReFED and co-author of the report. “If the recommendations in this report are included in the Farm Bill, we would see measurable progress in the fight against food waste. That’s how we can really take action.”

“Shifting to a regenerative food system is essential to feed our nation and reversing climate change and natural losses. Until we deal with the amount of food from farm to table that is lost and wasted, a regenerative system to be out of reach,” says Pete Pearson, Senior Director, food Loss and Waste of the World Wildlife Fund. “in the 2023 Farm Bill, Congress has the opportunity to definitely put America on a path to eliminating food waste, building on the steps that were taken in 2018 and ensure that the food we produce contribute positively to the health of both people and the planet. This report provides a roadmap for how we make this a reality. “

The report’s recommendations are based on insights from countless discussions with non-profit organizations, companies and local and government agencies, extensive research on reducing food waste conducted by ReFED and published in their Insights Engine, and stakeholder interviews with Farm Bill funders.

The report indicates which parts of the US Food Loss and Waste Policy Action Plan for Congress and Administration, released in 2021 by the FLPC, NRDC, ReFED and WWF, can be implemented in the Farm Bill. The action plan is supported by many US cities, NGOs and industry leaders such as Google, Unilever / Hellmann’s Best Foods and Marriott International.

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ABOUT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL COOKING AND POLICY CLINIC (FLPC)
The FLPC serves partner organizations and communities in the United States and around the world by providing guidance on cutting-edge issues in food systems, while engaging law students in engaging in food law and food policy. The FLPC is committed to promoting a cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary and inclusive approach to its work, building partnerships with academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, private sector actors and civil society with expertise in public health, the environment, and the economy. FLPC’s work focuses on increasing access to healthy food, supporting sustainable and equitable food production, reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food and promoting societal changes in food systems. For more information, visit www.chlpi.org/flpc.

ABOUT NRDC
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international non-profit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, researchers and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

ABOUT ReFED

ReFED is a national nonprofit organization that works to end matförlust and food waste throughout the food system by promoting data-driven solutions to the problem. We leverage the data and insights to highlight inefficiencies in the supply chain and economic opportunities; mobilize and connect supporters to take targeted measures; and catalyze capital to stimulate innovation and scale high-efficiency initiatives. Our goal is a sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems that optimize environmental resources, minimize carbon footprint and utilize the food we grow in the best way. To learn more about solutions for reducing food waste, visit www.refed.org.

ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE FUND (WWF)

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working for 60 years in almost 100 countries to help people and nature thrive. With the support of 1.3 million members in the United States and more than 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on earth, stop the deterioration of the environment and combat the climate crisis. Visit worldwildlife.org to learn more.

CONTACT: Kira Poplowski Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic kpoplowski@law.harvard.edu

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