When hunger coexists with abundance, the issue of food waste becomes more critical than ever. Each year, staggering amounts of food are needlessly discarded, not only squandering precious resources but also exacerbating environmental challenges such as greenhouse gas emissions and landfill pollution. However, amidst this challenge lies an opportunity for change. As we approach this year’s Food Waste Prevention Week, April 1st – 7th, and International Compost Awareness Week, May 5th – 11th, it’s time to rally together and address these issues head-on. By spreading awareness, embracing sustainable habits, and promoting composing, we can help to turn the tide on food waste and transform this problem into a solution. Join us on this journey as we explore the importance of reducing food waste and embracing composting as a powerful tool for environmental stewardship and sustainable living.

Seven Generations Ahead is committed to food waste reduction through its Zero Waste Schools and Food Waste Reduction and Composting programs. Food waste takes a heavy toll on our planet, economy and society. Environmentally it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions with decomposing food in landfills releasing methane, a potent climate pollutant. Economically, food waste represents a squandering of valuable resources from production to distribution.  Approximately 30-40% of the food supply in the United States goes to waste, amounting to roughly 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010, as reported by the USDA. Socially, food waste exacerbates issues of food insecurity and hunger, as resources that could have nourished those in need are needlessly discarded.

Food Waste Prevention Week is just around the corner and is a great opportunity to raise awareness, educate and inspire action to save money, prevent food waste, protect the environment and reduce hunger. In 2023, the collaborative movement experienced huge growth seeing more than 600 partners across 48 different states and 11 countries!

International Compost Awareness Week is the largest education initiative of the compost industry. Celebrated annually during the first full week of May, it garners participation nationwide and across all borders. The overarching aim of ICAW is to foster collective consciousness regarding the imperative nature of composting organic matter and utilizing compost to enrich soil health. From community events to educational endeavors in schools and libraries, to business engagements, diverse stakeholders come together during ICAW to promote composting in all its forms. The ICAW program theme for this year is Compost… Nature’s climate champion!

As both Food Waste Prevention Week and International Compost Awareness Week are around the corner, let us remember that our actions, both big and small, hold the power to affect meaningful change. The EPA estimates that in 2019, 66 million tons of wasted food was generated in the food retail, food service and residential sectors. About 60% of that waste was sent to landfills. By taking steps to reduce food waste in our own lives, advocating for systemic changes and embracing composting as a natural solution, we can contribute to a healthier planet and a more sustainable future for generations to come.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves, spread the word, and get involved! Whether it’s through participating in local events, sharing resources with friends and family, or even being mindful of our own consumption habits, each of us has a role to play in this global effort.