In partnership with Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Living Roots Eco Design, and Pinellas Community Composting Alliance.
What is Creating a Regenerative Community Food System?
Did you know about 25% of all trash collected in the United States is able to be composted, and the number is even greater for food service businesses? According to the EPA, 60- 80% of garbage produced by restaurants is food waste. Composting is good for our gardens and neighborhoods because it lowers carbon footprints and helps to sequester greenhouse gases, like carbon, into the soil. Food scraps can easily be turned into a locally produced and nutrient rich soil to help our local farms and gardens grow fresh food and plants with local resources.
Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger (TBNEH) developed and launched “Creating a Regenerative Community Food System” program to help divert food surplus from the waste stream in Pinellas County, in partnership with Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. The program hopes to inspire community members to manage their food, in a more sustainable way.
In order to prevent and divert wasted food from its associated impacts, multiple components of the program will address different layers of the Food Recovery Hierarchy, recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. The top levels of the hierarchy are the best ways to prevent and divert wasted food because they create the most benefits for the environment, society and the economy. In order of most preferred to least, the different levels of preventing food waste include: source reduction, redistribution (donating extra food to food banks, soup kitchens and shelters), feeding animals, and composting.
“We are excited to launch a program that is much needed in our community,” said Caitlyn Peacock, Executive Director. “Our goal is to change the way our waste is integrated into the community food system, which ultimately supports our Network’s mission of creating a sustainable, community-based food system to provide access to nutritious food for all. This unique initiative allows our local businesses and consumers to feel empowered to provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat, while conserving resources and saving money.”
How does Creating a Regenerative Community Food System work?
The key function of the program is to promote collaboration among community members by reducing food waste in the waste management system while improving their local communities. Through free educational classes and an easy to use food collection, donation and pickup system for excess food or scraps via the Waste No Food app, this program will help change food waste behaviors in our community. Efforts will include increasing partnerships between local farms and non-profit agencies with food needs. This pilot program is presented in partnership with Pinellas Community Composting Alliance, Living Roots Eco Design, and Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.
Community members are invited to join one of the upcoming free workshops that will provide information and tools for diverting food from the waste system, including redistribution and composting. Attendees will learn how they can donate extra food to hungry community members and how easy the composting process can be. Visit www.myPCCA.org to check out upcoming workshop dates and locations.
“Collecting food scraps for compost in our commercial kitchen sounded weird at first but in practice it was the easiest change we’ve ever implemented. From there, it’s picked up weekly via the Waste No Food app. We are thrilled, we’ve reduced our footprint in our local community so easily!” – Heather Miniello, Owner of Meranova Bed and Breakfast.
Businesses, agencies or individuals interested in participating in the #WasteNoFood movement can sign up to be excess food or food waste donors (free buckets and lids for scrap collection available upon request) or recipients of the donations via the Waste No Food app.
How do I get involved?
We invite you to join the Waste No Food movement now by downloading the Waste No Food app and creating an account! Businesses (restaurants, grocery stores, markets, food banks, food pantries, etc.) and individuals are encouraged to sign up as a donor or recipient of excess food or food waste now on the Waste No Food app.
Questions? To learn more, sign up for a free workshop or find out how you can get involved in the #WasteNoFood movement, please contact one of our team members below:
Chloe Kidd, Project Coordinator, Chloe.Kidd@NetworktoEndHunger.org