Harvestors mobile food market in Kansas City
WSU Environmental Finance Center

Why Talk About Wasted Food?

Up to 40% of all food in the United States goes uneaten and unused and can cost up to $161.6 billion annually. Food takes up more that 20% of the solid waste in landfills which is responsible for approximately 6%-8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, 1 in 8 people struggle to put food on the table, which can result in food insecurity, malnutrition, and many physical, mental, and emotional issues.

Wasted food is a global problem, but with collaboration and community-wide efforts, we can feed people, protect resources, and experience economic rewards for cities across the world. 


Local Food Summits


As the capital city of Nebraska, Lincoln is in a position to lead the state in reducing wasted food. The Lincoln Food Summit positioned many in the community to come together to reinvigorate conversations and develop new networks. The Lincoln Food Summit was held in November 2020.



From the smallest community garden to the large regional food bank, Kansas City is working through many networks to feed hungry people in the sprawling metropolitan area. The Kansas City Food Summit brought together these stakeholders to discuss what’s next for the city.


The partnership and collaboration between many organizations in St. Louis and across Missouri creates a place to discuss the topics surrounding wasted food, including feeding hungry people and composting. Many stakeholders engaged with each other to discuss the barriers to reducing food waste and the action items that individuals and the community can take to overcome those barriers.


The uniqueness of multiple cities coming together to address wasted food is found in the Quad Cities. Partnerships and networks across the state border were shared and will continue to collaborate and form new partnerships to reduce food waste and feed hungry people. 

Image of state of Kansas with apple by Wichita

The largest city in Kansas is taking strides to reduce food loss and waste while getting best use out of excess food.  City leaders, businesses, and nonprofit organizations are working towards a more sustainable food system and it begins with waste reduction.  

Icon image of the state of Missouri with apple in the Springfield Missouri area

From the family farm to thriving hospitality industries to widespread urban efforts, southwest Missouri is developing ways to reduce food loss and waste and striving to get best use out of excess food.

National Resources

America's Healthy Food Financing Initiative

America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) is a public-private partnership administered by Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas. America’s HFFI was established by the 2014 Farm Bill and reauthorized in 2018.

HFFI provides resources to eligible fresh, healthy food retailers and enterprises to overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas. As the National Fund Manager for HFFI, Reinvestment Fund is responsible for leveraging private capital, establishing financing and technical assistance programs, and channeling capital to fund eligible projects and partnerships. Currently, Reinvestment Fund offers a targeted small grants program and technical assistance program through America’s HFFI.

Grant Opportunities Technical Assistance 

Ample Harvest

Ample Harvest is a nationwide resource that is eliminating the waste of food by using the internet to enable 61 million Americans who grow food to easily donate their excess harvest. They bring their fresh food to one of 8,731 registered local food pantries nationwide. These food pantries help nourish the one out of six Americans (including a quarter of all kids under six ). By doing this, hunger and malnutrition is reduced and the environment is improved. 

Find a Pantry Donate Food 

Center for Agriculture & Food Systems

The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School collaborates with local, regional, national, and international partners, and engage in law and policy work that addresses challenges related to food and land justice, public health, the economy, food security, and animal welfare.

National Gleaning Project  National Gleaning & Food Recovery Map  

EPA Sustainable Management of Food

Sustainable Management of Food is a systematic approach that seeks to reduce wasted food and its associated impacts over the entire life cycle, starting with the use of natural resources, manufacturing, sales, and consumption and ending with decisions on recovery or final disposal. EPA works to promote innovation and highlight the value and efficient management of food as a resource. Through the sustainable management of food, EPA can help businesses and consumers save money, provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat, and conserve resources for future generations. Building on the familiar concept of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," this approach shifts the view on environmental protection and more fully recognizes the impacts of the food we waste.  EPA provides numerous resources to help communities with their sustainable management of food goals.

EPA Sustainabile Management of Food  EPA Wasted Food Measurement Methodology Scoping Memo EPA Excess Food Opportunities Map Local Foods Local Places Waste Reduction Model (WARM)  GHG Equivalency Calculator Reducing Food Waste at Home Food too Good to Waste (FTGTW) Toolkit and Implementation Guide Food too Good to Waste Activity Book for Kids Food Waste Research From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste  

Contact your region's Sustainable Managment of Food department


Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

The FTCLDF protects the rights of farmers and consumers to engage in direct commerce; it protects the rights of farmers to sell the products of the farm and the rights of consumers to access the foods of their choice from the source of their choice. FTCLDF is a true grassroots organization and receives no government funding and little or no corporate funding.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), signed a joint agency formal agreement under the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative. The interagency strategy is aimed at improving coordination and communication across federal agencies attempting to better educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste.  FDA also provides resources to help communities reach their sustainable management of food goals.

How to Cut Food Waste and Maintain Safety Tips to Reduce Food Waste Date Labels on Packaged Food Food Waste Animations 

Feeding America

The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, working to connect people with food and end hunger. Donors, staff, and volunteers all play an important role in our efforts to end hunger in the United States.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

A sustainable food system is one that delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generation is not compromised. This means that it is profitable throughout, ensuring economic sustainability, it has broad-based benefits for society, securing social sustainability, and that it has a positive or neutral impact on the natural resource environment, safeguarding the sustainability of the environment. FAO works closely with governments and key actors such as the private sector, civil society organizations, regional economic community organizations and platforms integrating sustainability in its three dimensions (social, economic and environmental) across global, regional and local food systems.

Food Rescue Locator

The Food Rescue Locator is a directory of organizations across the United States that rescue, glean, transport, prepare, and distribute food to the needy in their communities. Often staffed by volunteers, food rescue programs play an important role in feeding the hungry and reducing food waste. Please contact the individual food recovery organizations to learn about donation needs, guidelines and potential tax deductions before donating food.

Food Supply Chain Map

The Food Flow Model is a visualization system that maps food flows between counties in the United States. Food consumption and production are separated in space through flows of food along complex supply chains. These food supply chains are critical to our food security, making it important to evaluate them.  The goal of this project is to
estimate food flows between all county pairs within the United States.

View the published paper   View the interactive map

Food Waste Reduction Alliance

Consumer Brands Association, FMI – The Food Industry Association, and the National Restaurant Association make up the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), an industry-led initiative focused on reducing food waste by increasing food donation and sending unavoidable food waste to productive use (energy, composting) and away from landfills.

Read the Messy but Worth It report


Further with Food

Further with Food – Center for Food Waste and Loss Solutions is a one-stop virtual resource center. The website was founded and is supported by a public-private partnership. The information and technical guidance to reduce food waste is searchable by topic, author, audience and type of information.

Further with Food


Harvard Food Law and Policy Center

Since 2010, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) has served partner organizations and communities in the U.S. and around the world by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues, while engaging law students in the practice of food law and policy. FLPC’s work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable and equitable food production, reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food, and promoting community-led food system change.

Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2023 Farm Bill  

Food Safety Regulations and Guidance for Food Donations: A Fifty -State Survey of State Practices Keeping Food Out of the Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and Localities Tax Deduction for Food Donation: A Legal Guide Liability Protection Law and Policy Issue Brief 

Kroger's Zero Hunger, Zero Waste Program

The Kroger Sustainability Initiatives invites community members to join its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste journey to help shape innovative solutions and scalable best practices.

Read the 2021 Environmental, Social, and Governance Report  

Meal Connect

Feeding America's MealConnect links your food donations with local nonprofits. This free service uses an algorithm to match your donation with your local Feeding America food bank.  Pending capacity, your local food bank will reach out to you to coordinate your donation.

National Resources Defense Council 

Households toss limp vegetables. People are confused by food date labels. Restaurants often serve massive portions and trash leftovers. Grocery stores overstock their shelves to maintain an image of abundance. Farmers are unable to sell produce that doesn’t look perfect.  At the same time, 1 in 8 Americans struggles to put food on the table. An enormous amount of resources and energy go into growing, processing, transporting, and eventually disposing of all that wasted food. That includes climate-wrecking greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of the food system, plus water, fertilizer, packaging, labor, and more. Most wasted food ends up in landfills, where it generates methane, a greenhouse gas that is up to 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. NRDC is working on multiple fronts to change this.

Save the Food Food Waste Policy Gap Analysis and Inventory Food Matters: Tools for Cities to Reduce Food Waste Feeding a City: Food Waste and Food Need Across America  NRDC Tackling Food Waste and Cities - Policy and Program Toolkit


Since 2015, NETZRO has built an ecosystem of farmers, producers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, consumers and regulators, all working together to pioneer a circular upcycled food economy.  Working with large and small-scale businesses across the country, NETZRO uses proprietary technology for reducing, recovering and reharvesting food byproducts into safe, nutritious, and versatile upcycled ingredients that are good for the planet and consumers. 

NETZRO serves its mission to eliminate food waste and expand the food economy without growing more food, throught projects using egg shells, grain, and fruits & veggies.


Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA)

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA) partnered with the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) to develop a project to educate residents in Onondaga County, NY (Syracuse and surrounding communities) about problems with wasting food and the opportunities to reduce and divert food waste to compost. NEWMOA and OCRRA developed outreach and education tools and strategies, including handouts, short online videos, and social media campaigns, in multiple languages, as well as participating in and holding community events to promote these resources and share their message.

End Food Waste

North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE)

NCR-SARE offers competitive grants and educational opportunities for producers, scientists, educators, institutions, organizations and others exploring sustainable agriculture in America’s Midwest.  Learn about grant opportunities here.

Find your State Coordinator



ReFED is a national nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste across the U.S. food system by advancing data-driven solutions.  With a holistic view of the food system, ReFed working to achieve a 50% food waste reduction in accordance with the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. They use data that is coordinated with stakeholder engagement to develop information and tools that are useful for reducing food waste. https://refed.com/

US Food Waste Policy Finder  Insights Engine  Roadmap to 2030


ShareWaste connects people who wish to recycle their food scraps and other organics with their neighbours who are already composting, worm-farming or keep farm animals.  Now you can divert organic material from landfill while getting to know the people around you!  Learn how the website works and view a map of participating organizations.

Slow Food USA

Seeking to create dramatic and lasting change in the food system, Slow Food USA reconnects Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food.  https://slowfoodusa.org/

Ten Minute Fridge Reality Check

Got wasted food in your fridge? This 10-minute fridge clean-out will tell you how much food is going un- eaten in your home and give you easy tips to cut down on wasted food!  Share with friends, family, colleagues, and the community!

Upcycled Food Association

Through research, strategy, networking, and policy advocacy, Upcycled Food Association is building a food system in which all food is elevated to its highest and best use. UFA is comprised of Members and Associate Members from around the world.  UFA accomplishes this mission through attracting more investment into the upcycled industry, improving the upcycled business network, improving the upcycled supply chain, and increasing comsumer demand for upcycled products.  

U.S. Composting Council

The US Composting Council was formed in 1990 by compost makers and corporate sponsors and has grown since to 800 members, about 500 of whom are manufacturers of compost, with the remainder in compost research and soil science; consulting; marketing; allied products and compostable products, as well as a group of individuals and enthusiasts. About a third of the membership is local, state and federal government employees, many of whom are in the business of compost manufacturing or organics recycling.

The Council’s mission is focused primarily on large-scale compost manufacturing and marketing, and includes training and education of compost facility operators; certification programs for quality compost; and lobbying and advocacy campaigns at the state and federal level.

Learn more here.

The USCC also provides an organics hub to build compost infrastructure in the U.S. by providing tools to communities to plan, attract, open and successfully run compost facilities, and market the compost that is produced. These resources are developed as a result of two years of surveys and planning, from stakeholders and partners across the US Composting Council’s communities and committees.

Access free resources here.



In the United States, over one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. When food is tossed aside, so too are opportunities for improved food security, economic growth, and environmental prosperity. USDA is uniquely positioned to help address the problem of food loss and waste through its programs, policies, and guidance. USDA Food Loss and Waste provides a variety of resources to help communities with their sustainable management of food goals.

USDA Food Loss and Waste Food Loss and Innovation Fair - On-demand Content Food Waste Activities Food Product Dating Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants Urban Agriculture Resources Wholesale Market and Facility Design Technical Assistance 

Vanguard Renewables

Vanguard Renewables Farm Powered program provides solutions that benefit businesses, farms, communities, and the planet. They work hand-in-hand with dairy farmers to help manage manure, enhance regenerative agriculture practices, solve greenhouse gas emissions challenges, and enhance long-term operational and economic benefits. They also provide food and beverage businesses with waste reduction and recycling solutions, and decarbonization strategies, that meet aggressive sustainability targets.  Learn more.