DC Refined: D.C. Food Recovery Week of Action

From DC Refined by Lani Furbank:

“Forty-percent of food in the United States never gets eaten. That’s worth a total of 165 billion dollars, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). At the same time, one in six Americans are food insecure. This shocking contradiction is the reason that nearly 30 nonprofits, food banks, and government organizations across the metro area have teamed up to form the D.C. Food Recovery Working Group.

“There’s so many great programs and so many great organizations and food recovery advocates in D.C., but there are still so many people that don’t know any of this exist. And no one’s coordinating any efforts,” said Josh Singer, a Community Garden Specialist for the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and one of the co-leaders of the Working Group.

The Working Group, founded in December of 2015, aims to end food waste by implementing recovery strategies to prevent food from ending up in the landfill. To do this, they are working to raise awareness about food waste and educate people so they can help solve this nationwide crisis.

The problem of food waste is broader than wasting resources and perpetuating hunger. The NRDC reports that uneaten food in landfills is the largest component of municipal solid waste in the U.S., and as it decomposes, it creates large quantities of harmful methane gas that contributes to global warming. In addition, the lost nutrients in wasted food could do wonders for the depleted soil that makes growing food in D.C. and around the world challenging.

“This is something that affects everyone everywhere,” Singer explained. And luckily, it’s a problem that everyone can help solve. “It’s very very easy things, and small things, that have such huge impacts in the long run.”

That’s why the Working Group is hosting a Week of Actionbeginning today and running through Friday, May 20. The partners have organized more than 20 events over the course of the week, all aimed at educating the public about ways to end food waste.

To help you navigate the week of events, we’ve put together some of the highlights:

Food Recovery Workshops

There are several hands-on workshops and informative lectures going on this week. Composting is a recurring theme, because it is a great way to redirect inedible food (scraps, spoiled products, etc.) into valuable nutrients for soil. You can learn about DIY worm-powered composting today from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., or you can get certified to join one of the city’s manycomposting cooperatives on Sunday, May 15 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. or Thursday, May 19 from 6 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. In addition, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting two nights of mini-workshops on several topics relating to food recovery, including interpreting expiration date labels,maximizing produce by utilizing alternative parts of vegetables (like carrot tops of chard stalks), using spent brewery grains for baking, learning how to dumpster dive, and preserving food through canning. Learn a new skill at one of these events on May 16 or May 18 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Classes covering similar topics are also available year round.

Feeding the 5000

Feedback is bringing a worldwide food waste awareness campaign called Feeding the 5000 to D.C. on May 18 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. This event will demonstrate the scope food that goes to waste by providing a free meal to 5,000 people, exclusively using food that would have otherwise be thrown away. Apparently there is such a thing as a free lunch. The day after the event, the organization’s founder, Tristram Stuart, will be speaking at a lunch hosted by the D.C. Chapter of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.”

Read about the rest of the events here!

Featured image courtesy of DC Greens.

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