The conference is open to the public and will bring food recovery entrepreneurs, farmers, business professionals, academics, and government officials together to address the critical issue of food waste. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) are co-sponsoring the event.
The focus of the work groups and panels will be the top two tiers of EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy: “source reduction” and “feed hungry people.” In September of 2015, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) set the first-ever national food waste reduction goal, which aimed to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030. The event organizers hope this conference will help set a course of action to achieve this goal.
More than sixty notable food waste experts will be speaking at the conference, including Emily Broad Leib of Harvard Law School, Jesse Fink of the Fink Family Foundation, Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Karen Hanner of Feeding America, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Doug Rauch of Daily Table, and Mathy Stanislaus of EPA. Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg will also be speaking.
Topics for the work groups include clarifying food safety best practices and regulations, supporting food donation and changing behavior through consumer education and awareness, clarifying the meaning of date labels, and building infrastructure for farm level surplus. Breakout sessions will cover issues such as state and local policy strategies, innovation in food recovery, and food recovery by large institutions.
Before the conference, the FLPC is hosting a one-day Food Recovery Entrepreneurs Workshop, which will bring people together from across the country to learn from each other and build a cohort to build on progress made during the workshop. This portion is only available to accepted applicants.
The goal of the three days of panels and sessions is to facilitate discussion among stakeholders to identify the key steps needed to reduce food waste from policy, innovation, and awareness angles.