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.