Every year, the United States wastes 133 billion pounds of food, much of which is nutritious and edible. At the same time, one in six Americans is food insecure and does not know where their next meal will come from. It's estimated that reducing food waste by just 25 percent would be enough to feed more than 25 million people every year.
There are also serious environmental implications to the problem of food waste. Only three percent of food is composted in the US and as a result, uneaten food is the single biggest component of municipal solid waste. In landfills, food gradually breaks down to form methane, a greenhouse gas that's at least 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Linking Food Waste and Hungry Families
AmpleHarvest.org, a national non-profit whose mission is to eliminate food waste by connecting home gardeners with food pantries, has set out to address these issues through the creation of Food Waste Weekend, an event to educate clergy of all faiths about the issues of food waste.
"For the past ten years, an increasing number of food industry leaders, non-profits, government officials and others have been tacking the issue of food waste in America. One critical group - the faith community - has been largely absent from the conversation, until now," says AmpleHarvest.org's Founder and Executive Director, Gary Oppenheimer. "Since 70 percent of America's food pantries are located in a house of worship, faith leaders are critical partners in helping get that excess food to hungry families."
Photo credit: AmpleHarvest.org
How to Participate in Food Waste Weekend
The second annual Food Waste Weekend will take place September 8-10. The event is a global invitation and opportunity for leaders of all faiths to learn about and address the issue of food waste during the weekend's religious services. AmpleHarvest.org provides clergy with tools to help them discuss the issue with their congregations, including primers, example sermons and information about how reducing food waste can help practitioners save money at the grocery store and help improve both their health and the health of the environment. In addition, everyone can learn more about how to help combat food waste at home on the Food Waste Weekend website and on GRACE's food waste resource page.