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Q & A with Amy Keister, VP of Sustainability - Compass Group

1. What originally inspired you to get involved in your work?

My grandparents never wasted anything. Food was precious to them, not something that was taken for granted or thrown away.

2. What makes you continue to want to be involved in this kind of work?

First and foremost my two children. I want to help change our behaviors and attitudes toward food so that they have a better relationship with both food and waste.   I’m also extremely inspired by the results we have achieved to date on reducing food waste and am humbled by the task still at hand.

3. Who inspired you as a kid?

My parents really inspired me while growing up in a rural town in Connecticut. It wasn’t a farm, just an acre or so, but my parents acted as if it was. We grew all of our veggies, had fruit trees, and we canned everything that we didn’t use right away. We had chickens, pigs, and a pet cow named hamburger…Nothing went to waste. Ever.

4. What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?

Awareness that 40 percent of food in America is wasted, that sell-by dates are misleading, communicating how easy it is for everyone make a little change, and how all of these little changes add up to tremendous change.

5. Can you share a story about a food hero who inspired you?

Tom Colicchio. Not only is Tom a fantastic chef, he is a true humanitarian. Chef Tom founded Food Policy Action in 2012 to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming. He has been an outspoken voice on issues like improving school meals, the use of antibiotics in food sources, and better anti-hunger policies in America. I was honored to have Tom Colicchio partner with us on Stop Food Waste Day to bring about the change that is needed in our world to combat food waste.

6.  What’s the most pressing issue in food and agriculture that you’d like to see solved?

The overwhelming amount of food from going to farm to landfill. I want to see more food going from farm to table.

7.  What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Shop with a shopping list.