Clarkson’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment and the Potsdam Climate Smart Communities (CSC) task force are offering workshops this spring for a variety of stakeholder groups to work towards the design of local community-scale food waste management systems.
Every year approximately 40 percent of all food in the US is wasted throughout the food supply chain, from producer to consumer. This costs retail businesses $285 billion per year for disposal, requires substantial land and water to grow food that is then wasted, and emits greenhouse gases from landfill disposal.
Local solutions to food waste problems are possible! Solutions require understanding: (1) how much and where waste is generated; (2) how to increase donations of edible food to our area’s food access programs; and (3) how to redirect food scraps from the landfill to an organics recycling business such as composting or anaerobic digestion.
Thanks to a grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I), an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional effort is working to identify solutions that meet the specific needs of the Potsdam area. Communication and networking with all of the stakeholders involved with food and food waste are essential for this project.
Food waste generators (restaurants, grocery and convenience stores and universities) are currently being interviewed by the project team to understand their food waste practices and needs, with workshops scheduled for education and further dialogue about potential solutions. The virtual workshop for commercial food waste generators for education and discussion will be offered twice - Tuesday, April 13 (3-4pm) and Wednesday, April 14 (10-11am).
A separate workshop, which is designed for the general public to learn more about home and community-scale solutions to the food waste problems, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20 (6-7pm).
The third workshop this spring will target farmers, waste hauler and any other entrepreneurs who might be interested in developing a commercial business operation to support the area’s food waste recycling efforts. This workshop will be held Thursday, May 6, 7-8pm.
Further details and links to register for the ZOOM workshops see https://sites.google.com/clarkson.edu/potsdam-food-waste-management/home
CSC Task Force members and students, staff and faculty from Clarkson University, SUNY Potsdam and the Potsdam Central School have contributed to the organization and communication of materials used in these workshops. The core team includes Susan Powers, Jan DeWaters and Alex French from Clarkson, Ray Bowdish from SUNY Potsdam, Rebecca Munn from the Potsdam Central School, and Karen Bage, St. Lawrence Health Initiative. Students Miranda Wolf (Clarkson), Clare Sullivan-Caitlin (Potsdam Central Schools) and Kayleigh Stonier (SUNY Potsdam) have contributed to research and social media.
Funding for this project is provided by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, which is sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Environmental Protection Fund, and led by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability.