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Food rescue, FRN, Food Rescue Network, Food Recovery Network, Food waste, Manna, dining, surplus, redirection, proposal, sustainable, institutionalization, permanent, sustainability
Reducing food waste, lowering Smith’s carbon footprint, and strengthening Smith’s commitment to the community by creating a year-round staff position to coordinate sustainable practices in dining:
According to the NRDC, nearly 40% of food in the US is wasted, primarily due to distribution losses and premature disposal. In Massachusetts alone, more than a million tons of food waste were sent to landfills in 2016, representing a quarter of the state’s waste stream. Smith College loses thousands of dollars each year on disposal of unserved food. Due to students not consistently swiping their OneCards for meals, in addition to Smith’s lack of centralized dining with up to 12 dining halls open each day, Smith dining hall chefs cannot account for fluctuations in student traffic to estimate food quantity preparation for the day, which causes overproduction and significant food waste. Meanwhile, more than 650,000 Massachusetts residents are food insecure, with 13,000 located in Hampshire County alone.
Smith spends thousands on compost tipping costs for 1 disposal of hundreds of pounds of food surplus generated by these dining halls daily. However, according to the NRDC and EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy, donation has a greater environmental and social impact than composting. Under the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1966, donors are protected from liability when donating food in good faith for distribution to needy individuals; yet, a stark disparity remains between those with food surplus and the food insecure.
© 2023 Shastia Azulay
Azulay, Shastia, "Proposal to Implement An Institutional Food Recovery System and Fortify Existing Sustainable Programs on Campus" (2023). Special Studies, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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