Food Matters Regional Initiative

Cities are addressing food waste in a holistic way—through prevention, rescue, and recycling.

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Building on NRDC’S experience working with individual cities to minimize food waste—and to grow our impact—Food Matters moved into a new phase in 2020: addressing municipal food waste while leveraging regional synergies. In the Food Matters Regional Initiative, city representatives network with one another, with NRDC, and with local partner organizations to set goals, develop programs, and identify regional strategies that help maximize their resources.

NRDC has launched cohorts in the mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Great Lakes region. Cities often confront similar barriers when tackling food waste, including insufficient data and resources. The initiative aims to create a supportive peer network through which to overcome these barriers and magnify the collective accomplishments.

The cities participating in the mid-Atlantic are: Baltimore; Jersey City, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C. In the Southeast, they are: Asheville, North Carolina; Atlanta; Clean Memphis in Memphis; Nashville; and Orlando, Florida. The Great Lakes participants are: Chicago; Cincinnati; Madison, Wisconsin; Make Food Not Waste in Detroit; and The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.

NRDC works with each city to estimate their baseline food waste generation and food rescue potential, as well as to provide technical assistance to bolster their broader food systems, sustainability, and climate goals. Our research and experience are strengthened by the local expertise brought in by our partners so that, together, we can find the most impactful approaches.

Over the course of this project, we will implement a suite of strategies aimed at rethinking the drivers of food waste, preventing food from becoming waste, rescuing surplus food to feed members of the community in need of food assistance, and recycling food scraps into nutrient-rich soil amendments rather than letting them rot in a landfill. The initiative includes opportunities for participating cities to learn from each other and share successful strategies for on-the-ground project implementation.

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