FEBRUARY 5, 2018 BY 

Article adapted from the Steamboat Today

A third of the food raised or prepared does not make it from farm or factory to fork. Yet, people who need food are not getting it, and food that is not getting consumed is heating the planet.

So, what can we do?

In 2018, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is committed to educating our community about climate change and how each person can make an impact locally and globally. In the bestseller, “Drawdown,” reducing food waste is identified as the number three action we can take to reverse global warming.

Living in a rural community, we face unique challenges when it comes to recycling and waste diversion. While composting food waste is a better alternative to landfilling, the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy advocates reducing waste in the first place, then feeding people and animals.

Looking upstream and preventing waste before it is produced is the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions and keep food waste out of the landfill. As consumers, it is our responsibility to buy with intention and have a waste reduction plan in place.

From Feb. 26 to April 8, YVSC is offering a Food Waste Challenge to assist families in reducing preventable food waste. This six-week challenge is based on four principles: smart planning, smart shopping, smart saving and smart prep.

YVSC will provide challenge participants with customizable resources and advice on reducing food waste and saving money. Families that are part of the challenge will also have the opportunity to engage with and learn from other participants and ask questions about food waste and successful reduction strategies.

“The Food Waste Challenge is a great opportunity to be aware and mindful of how much waste we create daily and a chance to make small changes without a lot of effort. Plus, it can be fun to get the family involved by being more aware,” said Natalie Sattler, who completed the challenge with her family last year.

To kick off the Food Waste Challenge, YVSC and the Bud Werner Memorial Library are screening “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Library Hall. This film by celebrity chef Anthony Bordain aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle and eat food.

Through the eyes of some of the most influential chefs of our time, the audience will see how they make the most out of every kind of food, transforming what most people consider scraps into incredible dishes that create a more secure food system.

To learn more about the Food Waste Challenge or to sign up, email cameron@yvsc.org or visit https://yvsc.org/food-waste.

Cameron Hawkins is the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s waste diversion director.