The Maine Food Waste Solutions Summit, Maine’s annual food waste education event, is scheduled for Friday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to noon via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
Food waste has economic, social, environmental and climate impacts. Nearly 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is never eaten, costing the country $285 billion in 2019. Nationwide, $5 million per day is spent on food that is wasted in schools.
In Maine, 97 percent of food waste goes to landfills, contributing to harmful pollution and climate change. Meanwhile, 1 in 8 adults and 1 in 5 children in Maine go hungry every day.
“Food waste is a major financial, social and environmental problem that impacts all Maine people, but the great news is that there are simple solutions,” says Susanne Lee, faculty fellow at the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine. “We host this free online event so that everyone can attend and learn to reduce wasted food.”
The summit brings together key food system participants—residents, farms, food businesses, charitable food partners, community leaders, nonprofits and state representatives—to learn about Maine’s food waste problem and solutions. This year’s keynote speakers include Claudia Fabiano from the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Food: Too Good To Waste” peer network and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Maine First District Representative, a leading sponsor of bi-partisan legislation to help end food waste. Linda Breggin and Margaret Badding from the Environmental Law Institute will also present about the connection between food waste and climate change, and how communities can work to solve both at the same time.
The “MaineSuccess Stories” segment will recognize inspiring food waste initiatives across the state. Leaders from Preble Street Food Security Hub, Scrap Dogs Community Compost and Hannaford’s Zero Food Waste program will detail their food waste solutions.
A highlight of the summit is the presentation of the latest food waste pilot solutions by Mitchell Center student interns. Students Halle Rogers, Andrew MacMaster, Kate Flynn, Eddie Nachamie and Hannah Mathieu will talk about reducing, recovering, and recycling food waste with key stakeholder partners including Northern Light Health, Rockland AIO Food Pantry, Maine Dept. of Corrections and select Maine elementary schools in Buxton, Lisbon, Orono, and Sebago.
As first-year food waste intern Eddie Nachamie explains, “Our stakeholder-driven research process really teaches you to integrate multiple perspectives in order to develop successful solutions to food waste. Seeing our solutions in action and measuring their real-world impact – that’s a unique and exciting aspect of this internship.”
The third annual Maine Food Waste Solutions Summit is hosted by the Mitchell Center and Food Rescue MAINE. This online event is free and open to the public. Register online by April 7 to receive Zoom connection information.
For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Susanne Lee at email@example.com.