Eugene tosses 40 million pounds of food into the local landfill each year. Half of this food waste comes from homes. The other half comes from commercial food-generating businesses. When food waste goes to the landfill its breakdown creates harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Food waste is not an issue confined to Eugene. In the United States, an estimated 20-40% of food never makes it to the grocery store – mostly because of excessively strict cosmetic standards. Globally, a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed.
Food waste creates huge issues both locally and abroad. Luckily, we have solutions and opportunities to change that.
Operation: Food Rescue was an event to highlight the issues around our global food waste epidemic and to draw awareness to food that is wasted throughout the supply chain. This event was an effort to bring people and organizations spanning many sectors together to showcase the simple and fun solutions to reducing food waste at home. This inaugural event was at the west Park Blocks Downtown from 6-8pm on Friday, September 8th.
The event featured speakers focusing on a variety of perspectives in food waste and sustainability. You can learn more about each of the speakers on the bio page.
Stephen Wooten, University of Oregon Food Studies Program.
Charlie Tilt, Hummingbird Wholesale.
Allie Breyer, Waste Prevention and Green Building, City of Eugene.
Additionally, Operation: Food Rescue included a free community meal with a sampling of dishes made from ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted. One of the main reasons tons of healthful foods end up in landfills is because they’re not considered pretty enough to sell. Food was first-come, first-served to limit food waste! Our partners for the event included:
We also partnered with Wildcraft Cider for this event with a delicious cider garden.
We also had informational booths from Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, FOOD for Lane County, and Mountain Rose Herbs, and Love Food Not Waste to learn more about each of their work in sustainability, food waste prevention and food rescue in our community.
Over 130 residents attended this zero-waste event and enjoyed an evening of free, delicious food and inspiring local speakers.
Want to learn more or get involved for next year's event? Contact Allie Breyer, at 541-682-5224.