Nonprofit Spotlight: ReFED

We did something a little special for the month of April. We featured our *first* guest expert – Anne Marie Toccket, Executive Director of the Posner Foundation.

Anne Marie selected the Climate Change charity we supported this month! You can watch a quick video of our conversation about her choice here.

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In April, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to ReFED!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 2015

  • Leadership: Executive Director Dana Gunders is a national expert on food waste and considered to be “the woman that started the waste-free movement.” Her career has focused on promoting sustainability throughout our food system and supply chains, and her work has been featured by NPR, CNN, John Oliver & others.

  • Issue they address: food loss and waste across the U.S. food system.

  • What they do: coordinate leaders across public and private sectors to implement targeted, data-driven solutions to reduce food waste by 50%.

  • How they do it:

    • Data and Insights: their road map examines the entire food supply chain and identifies seven key action areas where the food system must focus its efforts over the next 10 years; their Insights Engine is an interactive, online data center to inform the road map.

    • Stakeholder engagement: they mobilize people working across the food system to take targeted action to prevent, reduce and recycle food waste.

    • Spur investment: educate and advise funders (public, private and philanthropic) on where to focus their investments in food waste reduction.

Why they were chosen

“ReFED is an amazing organization that brings together stakeholders across nonprofits, private sector, farms etc. with the goal of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030. They are an amazing clearinghouse of info, from their Insights Engine to their excellent framework on solutions. Food is the #1 item that goes in landfills, releasing harmful methane into the environment, a major contributor to climate change. In fact, Project Drawdown says reducing food waste is the single most effective thing we can do to stop emissions that cause climate change.” -Anne Marie Toccket, Executive Director of the Posner Foundation

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🥦 What is ‘food waste’?

ReFED defines it as “uneaten food and inedible parts that end up being landfilled, incinerated, disposed of down the sewer, dumped, or spread onto land.” It’s a subset of ‘surplus food’, which is all food that goes unsold, unused, or uneaten at a business or in a home – including that which is donated or recycled.

In 2019, 35% of food went unsold or uneaten. That’s ~90B meals’ worth of food. 😳 Food loss and waste happen at each stage of the supply chain, from funky looking broccoli a farm can’t sell, to the bag of spinach that went bad in your fridge.

🥡 The impacts of uneaten food

  • Environmental: Uneaten food is the number one material entering landfills, and it accounts for 4% of greenhouse gases emitted in the U.S. alone. The resources that went into producing it, like cropland, water and energy, go to waste as well.
  • Food security: 1 in 8 Americans (over 38M) are food insecure, including 12M children. Covid-19 exacerbated food insecurity in the country, with Black, Latino and Native American families, as well as rural families, disproportionally impacted.
  • Economic: In 2019, food waste cost the country $285B. Consumers, restaurants and food service businesses bear the brunt of the financial cost of uneaten food.

🍽️ What can we do as individuals?

Households are the greatest source of food waste in the U.S.

Some tips: plan out your meals for the week and don’t overbuy at the grocery store, purchase ‘ugly’ produce, and store your groceries properly + love on your freezer. See more tips here.

💻 Tune in!

Every year, ReFED hosts the Food Waste Solutions Summit. This year it’s May 10-12th in Minneapolis, MN and it will be live streamed. Grab a ticket to see ReFED in action!

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Climate Change cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit fighting the climate crisis.