March 23, 2016
By: Monique Richard
Would you be surprised to know that over one third of all food produced in America goes uneaten...ending up in our landfills?
Food waste is a huge problem in our country. The average American throws away 50% more food today than in 1970. This is the equivalent of throwing 320,000 jumbo jets worth of food directly into the landfill each year. Unfortunately, these are true statements pulled directly from the introduction of the Future of Food Initiative and Report from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation that can be read in its entirety here.
Whether you've traveled to Haiti, India and China and experienced first-hand the impoverished communities like I have, or witnessed it here in our own communities, in our own backyards across the U.S., you can appreciate the magnitude of consequences related to food and nutrition insecurity and food waste.
DIFM has actively been engaged in exploring ways to address these critical issues with representation from a multitude of angles; through the steadfast involvement with the House of Delegates by our DPG delegate Kathie Swift, through nutrition legislation and public policy communication with our Policy and Advocacy Leader, Olivia Wagner, by you, our members participating in Action Alerts, working in the area of nutrition and food insecurity and with our entire Executive Committee highlighting these issues. I am honored to represent DIFM as part of the Academy's Food and Nutrition Security Task Force Committee where we are doing research, organizing hubs of go-to resources and partnering with Feeding America to assist the RDN further in being an instrumental professional in addressing these issues. DIFM has also partnered with HEN to promote and share access to their Food and Nutrition Insecurity and Food Waste Webinar series.
We are also exploring a Food Bank Drive at this year's FNCE, partnering with organizations and conferences that share our mission and vision like the non-profit Plant-Based Prevention of Disease conference, holding a food drive based on the UN's theme of "Year of the Pulses." We will continue to look through the DIFM lens locally and internationally with numerous collaborations as this is close to so many of our hearts and homes and so much deeper than our work. It is why we do what we do.
As highlighted throughout the report with concrete examples of RDNs putting their ideas, initiatives and actions into practice, it is beautifully stated in the final sentences that "Many RDNs are already taking bold initiatives to reduce their practice area’s wasted food footprint. Whether it’s reducing the amount of food purchased, donating excess food to feed hungry people, composting scraps, or teaching clients how to be more mindful with their shopping habits – it all makes a difference."
It certainly does! Here's to making big differences, together.