SEATTLE — In early October, the United Nations issued a report stating more than 100 cities have taken a pledge to fight hunger by reducing food waste. This pledge comes in the form of the Urban Food Policy Pact.
The focus of this pact is to develop both equitable and sustainable food systems.
According to the U.N.’s report, “the pact includes five core actions: engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure an enabling environment; promote sustainable diets and nutrition; ensure equitable access to food; promote rural-urban food production and supply; and reduce food waste.”
By focusing on cities, the U.N. hopes that urban life will become more stable in terms of food security.
On the topic of food waste, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “More than a third of all food produced worldwide — over one billion tons of edible food each year — goes to waste. That is shameful when so many people suffer from hunger.”
To combat food waste, countries are setting new standards for food waste reduction.
In the U.S., families lose on average $1,600 to $2,000 each year to food that is purchased but not eaten, according to the website, Triple Pundit. “That loss is more than what it costs to feed a family of four for an entire month.”
The U.S. Environment Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture announced a new plan to meet a national food waste reduction goal of cutting the nation’s waste in half by 2030.”
France has also jumped in with new legislation to help reduce food waste. “French supermarkets will be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food and must instead donate it to charities or for animal feed, under a law set to crack down on food waste,” according to an article in The Guardian.
Smaller organizations are working to find new ways to prevent food waste as well.
The Culinary Misfits located in Berlin, Germany, seeks out ugly vegetables at grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants and turns them into appetizing dishes at events they cater in the city.
In the Bahamas, Hands for Hunger works to reduce waste through mobilizing individuals and community organizations by gathering unused food from grocery stores, hotels, and other businesses, and then distributing it to “low-income residents, including victims of abuse and psychiatric patients.”
These and other efforts to reduce food waste may help the global effort to eradicate hunger by 2030 as outlined in the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals established earlier this year.