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.