5 Questions with Bal Arneson - Chef & Author

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1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

I think it is very important for people to be educated on food waste, so we can make better daily choices to help our planet – so I think its amazing all the attention this topic is receiving. With all this attention, it makes us more conscious on how we purchase, prepare, and store our food.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

In professional kitchens, there is such a high volume of food that it can be easy to waste. Participating in composting, donating left over food, and recycling menu items is a quick way to reduce food waste in a professional kitchen. Planning out your menu so you can use leftover products is an efficient way to make sure everything is getting used.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

At home, an easy way I reduce food waste is I always take my vegetable peels and use it later to make a vegetable broth. I teach my family that to prevent food waste, we need to be conscious about this from planning our menu, to shopping at the grocery store, and how we store our food at home. If we notice that we have leftovers and ingredients that need to be used, we will have a day once a week where we create new recipes with what we have in the fridge. 

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

One very quick choice that everyone can make is to take time out of your day to check your fridge, and organize it, so you can make sure everything is in proper containers, and that you don’t purchase more of something until you have used it up all at home!

5. What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Making soup is a great way to use your leftover vegetables! You can make a big pot and freeze it, or give some to your neighbors too!

5 Questions with CFO Andrew Large

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1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I don’t think we can deny that climate change is real. By reducing how much food we waste hopefully we can have a positive impact on global warming. On a day-to-day level, it just makes good economic sense! Using all your food= spending less in the long run; and as finance guy this is a win win!

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

Food Recovery Network are a wonderful organization, recovering perishable food from our college accounts and donating it people who need it in the local community. So impressed when I saw these guys!

3. What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Freezing leftovers! Just an easy way to make sure you finish everything. We prepare and cook less = better on the waste line!

4. What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

Getting the word out there that 40% of food produced in the Unites Stated ends up wasted. 40%.......that is almost half of all food produced!!

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

Meal plan- knowing exactly how you’re going to use the food so you can shop for just what you need. Plan ahead and by doing so it actually takes the chore out of what to cook (plus by keeping a record you have menu/recipe items you can refer back to for inspiration!)

5 Questions with Scott MacLellan - President & CEO of Morrison Community Living

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1. Which non-profit mission do you feel most committed to supporting?

I serve on the board of a number on non-profit organizations, but the one most relevant to our business was the 10 years I spent on the Foundation Board at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, one of Morrison's customers.

2. How did you become personally invested?

My youngest daughter had survived cancer three times by the age of seven. She's had two liver transplants and over 150 surgeries in her lifetime. So naturally, I have a deep affinity towards children with serious illness and their families. I know what it's like to live moment by moment, wondering what the next bit of news will bring, or what challenges your child will face when the morning comes.

3. What do you do to show your support?

I support all the Boards where I serve with my time, attention, prayers and finances. But I think the real support comes when you invest personally in the people whom these boards serve. It's one thing to write a check, or attend a meeting; it's altogether different to share in the lives and the experience of people in need. When you experience that need firsthand, your service to the organization ramps up to a completely different level.

4. Can you share a story when you realized your efforts were making a difference?

It is easy to see how these amazing organizations realize their purpose by serving those they were created to help. You can see that difference firsthand. And I'm incredibly honored to play some very small role in that. But I think the moment that hit me the most, actually, was when my oldest daughter posted on social media that I was traveling on a mission. I hadn't even thought about the impact this work was having on my own family. It really gave me one of those "gut" moments when you realize something bigger than yourself is happening.

5. Why is it important to you to give your time to others?

We live day to day in the service industry. Every day I am inspired by what our people do to serve patients and residents at some of their most vulnerable moments. When you spend your days watching people with compassionate hearts touch the lives of people at the soul level, it's hard not to turn around and do something yourself. When you talk to these amazing associates, all of them will tell you that giving to others enriches their lives even more. I think that's part of the mystery of life. It is in giving that we receive.

5 Questions with Chef Jehangir Mehta

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1.   What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

I am glad the conversation has now started and awareness has been created but we as a nation still have a lot of implementation work to orchestrate. The lines of communication have to be strengthened by changing the mindset of the people before a real change will be seen. 


2.   What are your best tips to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

If a chef is aware of the consumption level, order in bulk to reduce the waste generated from packaging.  Help your staff talk through all channels in the kitchen and the front.

 Another way is maximizing the product ordered. For example: If the Bar needs 10 lemons juiced everyday for service, while the Pasty Department needs zest of 10 lemons for a tart and lastly The Front Desk needs a pitcher of Lemon water everyday made with 5 lemons. Instead of them all ordering separately that would be 25 lemons a day. The three departments start to speak to each other. The pastry department first zests the 10 lemons then hands it over to the Bar who juices them. The Bartender in turn alters the recipe by placing all 10 lemons in the pitcher for lemon water for the Front desk. This way the lemons have been manipulated to the fullest to create less waste, create efficient inventory and much better Food cost for the organization who saved purchasing 15 additional lemons a day. 

3.   How about in the home kitchen?

All manners and lifestyle patterns are set from home and the question of setting the right mindset is implemented from the home.  The thinking of waste management has to be inculcated in our children right from a very young age.

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

If all of us just take a moment to stop throwing a mushy fruit or a bruised vegetable completely in the garbage and instead take a moment to carve out only the bruised area and use the rest of the product.  Use the mushy fruit to make a muffin, or anything else, or pickle vegetables that have a short lifespan left.  Follow the mantra UTILIZE BEFORE YOU TRASH.

5.    What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Soup is the easiest way to use leftovers or make fillings for dumplings with the food scraps. 

5 Questions with Cam Pascual & Mia Zavalij - Eatable Food Founders

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1.   What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? (Both)

We both had similar, eye-opening experiences as college students. Through various volunteer opportunities, we saw the issues of poverty and hunger first-hand in our community. In our classes we were learning about sustainability and climate change. One day, we realized our university was throwing away perfectly edible food. It didn’t make sense to us from a sustainability perspective and we knew that there were individuals in our community who could benefit from the nutritious meals we were getting as students. We looked into the problem even further and learned that food waste was an issue not just on our campus. We have been fighting food waste ever since.

2.   Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? (Cam)

One of my big food waste heroes is Doug Rauch, who founded the nonprofit Daily Table. Daily Table provides healthy food options for the community they serve at low prices by selling surplus food from growers and other suppliers. What I like about his model is that you’re increasing food access for folks in a regular retail space, while providing jobs for the local community and transforming the way we perceive that surplus food.

3.   What change have you made personally to be more mindful? (Mia)

My biggest personal hurdle to tackle was not having enough time to prepare my meals. Now, I like to cut up all my vegetables and produce right away and then store it in Tupperware in the fridge to use throughout the week. That way I have a better visual on the amount of food I have and I can easily use my precut vegetables for snacks, stir fry and salads even when I feel like being lazy or don’t have the time I need. It also makes it easier to freeze produce if I can’t use it in time.

4.   What will it take for America to make food waste a priority? (Cam)

Actually, I’m really inspired by how much the conversation around food waste has changed over the past few years. People are really starting to pay attention to it, but even if people are aware of the issue, changing habits is easier said than done. America’s starting to prioritize reducing food waste, but now we need to continue finding ways that make it easy for us all to change our behavior.

5.   What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference? (Mia)

Being realistic while making a grocery list can go a long way. Meal planning is really helpful, but it’s also important to plan out or think about your weekly schedule while doing so. Asking ourselves questions like: “How many times am I going to eat out this week?”,  “Will I have time to cook after my long day on Thursday?”, or “Will this food keep when I go away over the weekend?” might make the difference between buying too much and just the right amount.

 

5 Questions with Chef Allison Trinkle - Chartwells Higher Education @ UMBC

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1.   What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

Food waste is a problem that affects every aspect of our food system, from the product in the fields, to the family table and the landfills. We will run out of usable farm land to make way for landfills at the rate we are going.

2.   What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

Training is the key. Educating associates on the importance of proper cleaning and trimming of vegetables and proteins, using scaled recipes and using production records leads to accountability. Waste management should be woven into the fabric of our daily execution.

3.   How about in the home kitchen?

Write out weekly menu and make a grocery list. We all are guilty of getting to the grocery store and buying items that are on special or that are a good price, but then not having  plan to utilize them and we end up throwing them away.

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

Recycling you will be surprised how much glass, plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard are used in your household. We are fortunate to have a recycling center near our home and make a monthly trip.

5.   What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

We have a weekly meal we loving call “Must Go”. We create a delicious meal cleaning out all the items that need to be used up in the fridge, we have fun contributing to the dinner and limiting our waste.

5 Questions with Lisa McEuen - CEO, Chartwells Higher Education

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1.   What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

My family was always conscious of waste so it’s been engrained in me since childhood. My parents grew up in the UK and lived on rations during World War II, so they were always very mindful about food and made sure that nothing went to waste. One of my earliest memories as a child was watching my father, a chef, butcher a cow and use every part of it for some purpose. It was then that I began to fully appreciate sustainability practices.  When I joined Bon Appétit and we built our strategy around “Food Services for a Sustainable Future,” I truly felt the marriage of my personal beliefs on sustainability and my professional practices come together.

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

I am so fortunate to spend time each day with the incredibly talented and creative culinarians in our field. Watching them bring our innovations to life is truly inspiring. I am always amazed when I see them transform IDP produce into a beautiful healthy and delicious meal all while being mindful of our guest’s food preferences as well as popular trends.

3.   What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Whenever I sit down for a meal, I take time to appreciate the food that I’m served or that I’ve prepared. I consider where the ingredients came from, how it was grown, picked, sourced, cut and prepared and recognize the heart, soul and passionate that went into preparing that meal. When I’m on the road, I make a point to avoid taking more than I actually need and when I’m home I only buy what I know I will eat for the week. 

4.   What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

Everyone has the power to make a difference no matter how small. We need to keep the conversation going, be transparent about the food we waste and educate those around us

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

When I’m home, one of my favorite things to do in the morning is to make smoothies. Not only are they healthy and give me the jolt of energy I need for the day, but they allow me to get creative in the kitchen. In the morning I take stock of what left overs I have available and challenge myself to make a drink with what I have on hand. Each day’s creation is a little bit different which means that I’m always creating something new.

5 Questions with Eve Turow Paul - Author of "A Taste of Generation Yum"

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1.  What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

According to Paul Hawken, ending food waste is the number three most effective thing we can do to combat climate change. In today's world, many things feel out of our control, but limiting our waste is entirely on us. We can make change every day with our food habits — what we buy, how much we buy, and what we do with the leftovers.

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

Dan Barber is my ultimate hero. His wastED pop-up took the concept of "food waste" out of the category of garbage and into the category of fine dining. He showed people that we're not talking about eating trash, we're talking about finding the hidden gems and delicious bites in the things we're mindlessly tossing aside. He made food waste a topic for gastronomes not just environmental advocates.

3.   What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

My husband and I waste almost nothing. We have two big recycling bins at home, an enormous compost bin, and a tiny garbage bin. We take out the trash (1-2 gallons) once a week. We freeze scraps to make our own stock. We upcycle leftovers. We buy groceries throughout the week to ensure things don't go bad in the fridge. 

4.   What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

At the end of the day, the concept of climate change is hard for many people to wrap their heads around, but saving money is something they can get behind. And feeling altruistic can be a real motivator. We, as a culture, need to make using scraps and eating unusual plant and animal parts cool among "foodies." We also need to make wasting things shameful. Ideally, we'd implement a system in the U.S. like they have in South Korea where people are taxed based on their waste. It makes sense — the more any one person or company wastes, the more municipal money is spent transporting that waste, treating it, and adding it to landfills. We should be taxed based on how much waste we create.

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

Stop throwing away as much food. Buy only what you know you'll consume. With leftovers, find a way to make them exciting again, or compost them. Ignore "best by" or "use by" dates. Another big thing: Think about the parts of plants and animals you have been taught to throw away. Question that. Why are you throwing out your broccoli stems, cauliflower stems, beet greens, chicken livers or necks? They're perfectly edible and delicious! 

 

 

5 Questions with Dick Cattani - CEO of Restaurant Associates

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1.   What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I became more aware of the situation and frankly enlightened after attending many industry conferences, company meetings and listening to speaker after speaker articulate the abuse of food waste in our society.

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

At a very early age my mother would consistently tell me to eat every morsel on my plate “because the people in Europe are starving.”  It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized the people in Europe weren’t starving, but people in other parts of the world were!  My mother was, however, very conscious of food waste and was very thrifty in saving money and utilizing leftover food.

3.   What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

In our business I have made it a priority to reduce portions in our restaurants and staff cafes, as well as reducing food and beverage inventories in our units.  Every unit in the company has much too much product on hand that only results in food waste.  Our volume of conference catering food and beverage also was a problem until we adjusted the program by reducing the quantities offered

4.  What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

We will not turn the corner until it is addressed at an early age with our children in schools, clubs, camps and social media. 

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

Teach and influence one young person today!  I’ve been explaining this issue to my 10-year old granddaughter.  I’m making progress!

 

5 Questions with Arlin Wasserman, Partner at Changing Tastes

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1.   What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?   

I grew up in working in a family owned produced company and even before I went to college I knew I wanted to work on environmental issues. I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to launch the nation’s first weekly recycling pick up program and then create the concept of “plant-forward” dining when I was working for a catering company. This just always seems to have been my calling.

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

My dad, who ran our family own produced distribution company in Philadelphia back when I was a child. Each day, he’d bring home a big bag of fruits and vegetables that were so ripe, they couldn’t handle being driven around on the delivery truck the next day. Those “perfectly ripe” fruits and vegetables would have gone to waste, but instead were a part every meal we head.

3.   What change have you made personally to be more mindful? 

As someone who travels for work a bit too often, making soups and stocks is a once in a while activity. But to help reduce food waste and be ready to simmer at a moment’s notice, I keep three big containers in my freezer:  one for vegetable peelings and the others for the occasional bones when we cook meat or poultry or save the bones from a whole fish.

4.   What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?   

We are pretty well insulated from the problems of food waste and many of us are fortunate enough to just be able to pay a bit more. I think the recent generation of products made from scraps and waste, including snack foods and drinks, show the solution can be delicious and are likely to engage more of us than a campaign about environmental problems.

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

When you order a meal, order just enough. When you ask what to eat, think what’s fresh and in season. And when a restaurant offers you more, like a buy one get one free promotion, ask if you can get it later or wrapped to take it home. Don’t take more than you need.

 

5 Questions with Greg Campbell, Executive Chef - MoPOP Seattle

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1.   What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

I think it is great, anything that can be done to cut back on the amount of food that is going is the garbage is a positive.

2.   What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

Cutting back on over ordering and over portioningis always the best way to cut waste.  We keep track of what we have sold in the past to use as a guide for future orders.

3.   How about in the home kitchen?

Don't buy too much at one time.  it is better to go to the grocery store several times a week than throw out food that has gone bad.

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

Be aware of the portions you are making.  Often when you are hungry you cook more than you are really going to eat. 

5.   What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

We try to plan ahead for our leftovers. For instance we have pork one night and then fried rice the next, Or roast beef and then French dip sandwiches.  This also helps because a part of your second meal is already cooked and ready to go.

5 Questions with Mark Freeman of Microsoft

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1.    What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I have always had a passion about doing the right thing for the earth – and at Microsoft, we are in a unique position to be able to implement some of these dreams as well as influence others. Food waste in particular interests me because of what I learned at the most recent World Expo in Milan, which focused on how to feed the 9 billion projected population by 2050.  By focusing NOW on reducing the amount of food that we waste, feeding 9 billion might be more achievable than we thought.  We may have the ability to feed the planet not necessarily by focusing solely on growing or raising more food, but rather by changing current behaviors and reducing waste to feed the world.  

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

I had the opportunity to meet Carlo Patrini, who started the Slow Food movement, when I was at the College of Gastronomy and Science in Bra, Italy. Although he spoke very little English, and I not much Italian, we were able to understand each other enough to know that serving good, clean and fair food and treating the earth right would garner the ability to not only feed the planet…but to do so in a responsible way.

3.   What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Personally, I have been focusing in on using durables instead of disposables. The idea of throwing something into a landfill is the worst, but I also really don’t know that throwing something into a compost or recycle bin is that much better.  To me, the only way to keep from doing that is to use durable and reusable containers.  At Microsoft, we are considering the same thing and using data to determine how much food to produce on any given day.  By utilizing predictive analytics and massive amounts of data from our POS systems, we can now predict within a 96% accuracy rate how many people will be in our Cafes tomorrow, and a 92% accuracy rate 30-days out. Knowing this give us an advantage in the quest for zero-waste; we reduce waste by not creating it in the first place.

4.   What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

I think that constant visibility to the food waste problem and the constant support of celebrities (like Anthony Bourdain and others) will continue to drive the point home and keep it top-of-mind for Americans. I also think that if we get influential activists such as Al Gore to endorse it as part of their highly publicized platforms that would help.

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

Durables - drink liquids (water, coffee, juice) out of a reusable containers.  The biggest thing to remember about “throwing things away” is that there is no “away” – everything we waste has impact.

5 Questions with Susie Weintraub

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1.       What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

My 3 boys.  I want my children to have an appreciation for the abundance of food and resources that we have – and realize that there are hundreds of millions of people (including 13 million children in the US alone) that are food insecure.  We can help by being more mindful and responsible with the resources we have – and the food we eat.  Reducing food waste is something that everyone – regardless of age – can support and help to mitigate. 

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

For me, it wasn’t a person that initially caught my attention. It was the statistic that 40% of all food produced in wasted in the US. I first thought “that can’t be right” – then started to dig in and found out in fact it is accurate – and may actually be a conservative estimate.

So personally, and professionally – I thought this is something we can truly impact.  Starting at home, but also creating awareness within and throughout Compass Group. Being the world’s largest global food service company, I felt this was an initiative that creates positive impact for people and planet, but also made commercial business sense.

3.       What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

I keep that 40% statistic top of mind when I shop, cook, make lunches for my kids, eat at restaurants – and remind my children of the same.  Gently encouraging my family and friends to be more mindful of food waste is a powerful means of shifting behavior – but a lot of times the 40% statistic alone grabs attention and resonates with people.

4.       What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

I think it’s simply continuing to raise awareness of the food waste issue. I’ve been in the food service industry for over 20 years, and I wasn’t aware of the magnitude of food waste until about 3 years ago. By creating awareness, and giving folks simple, easy tactics they can personally exercise to help reduce food waste (and/or recover where applicable) – I think collectively we can dramatically reduce the current statistic.  People want to do the right thing – they just need to be aware of the issue.

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

Keep that 40% statistic top of mind when shopping, eating, serving and cooking.  It’s nothing dramatic that needs to change in your personal life - just mindfulness alone tends to make you think twice about how much to buy, order, prepare – and portion (especially for kids!)

 

5 Questions with Chef Jet Tila

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1: As a chef, we know you’re very conscious of food waste. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

We’ve been eating nose-to-tail for 20 years now, using every part of the animal, so we created something called root-to-stem as part of our Vegetable Revolution, or Veg Rev.  The days of peeled carrots are over and now we’re roasting carrots with the peel on.  We are inspiring chefs to use it all - traditional tops of carrots, greens, turnips and broccoli trimmings.  Vegetables are the place to teach our culinarians to reduce waste and where we can really make an impact! 

2: What are your best tips to reduce food waste in the home kitchen?

Start with the obvious dishes.  Carrots and cauliflower are quintessential dishes for the Veg Rev.  Stop peeling your carrots, instead give a nice rinse and wash, then roast them.  Get creative and find recipes that fully utilize vegetables.  Plus composting and recycling – they all tie together. 

3: What changes have you made personally to be more mindful? 

We don’t’ waste anything in the Tila house.  We’re cutting fruit and composting what we can.  If the cut fruit sits for 2-3 days and it looks like we’re not getting to it, we stick it in the freezer to become smoothies.  Same with Kale and broccoli – we throw it into the freezer.  Everything becomes smoothies at the end of the week.  It’s a mindset of how can we stay creative with food and really reduce waste. 

4: What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a difference in the amount of food that they waste, but doesn’t know where to begin? 

If you have something that’s not going to last – throw it in the freezer.  Between composting, freezing, and utilization we can all make a big difference.

5: Favorite way to use up leftovers?

We build up the freezer for breakfast smoothies.  On the weekend omelets and frittatas are always a way we use up extras, and fried rice.  Between these 3 dishes we have no waste.  In our house, you are using everything all the time.

That’s the Tila way.

5 Questions with Fabio Viviani

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1.       What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

Americans waste almost as much food as they consume so it really starts with us as chefs, and anyone passionate about food, to educate the masses so more food can be preserved and saved from being wasted.  With millions of people not being able to feed themselves, throwing food away its a crime.

2.       What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

Use the whole animal, use vegetable scraps for stocks and sauces, and do compost.

3.       How about in the home kitchen?

Same advice as above.  Plus, don't shop if you don't need it, and increase your trips to the grocery store.

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

Purchase less, batch cook and freeze.

5.       What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

Making great soups, love soups!