Grass Valley, Calif. January 9, 2020 – BriarPatch Food Co-op is kicking off the new year by inviting the community to join in a year-long journey to explore and better understand the global impacts of food waste and what individuals can do to help reduce it. “Food Too Good to Waste” provides folks with a year-long calendar of helpful tools, links, resources, activities and social gatherings designed to educate and inspire manageable changes that can make a difference locally and beyond.

“We hope to feel more empowered, have fun and make a difference, as we go on this journey together,” said Marketing Manager Rebecca Torpie.

The social problems associated with food waste can no longer be ignored. Upwards of 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, while one in six people living in the U.S. experiences food insecurity. Of the food that is not eaten, 42 percent is wasted at home, 40 percent is wasted at retail outlets and 16 percent is wasted on farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency.

In addition, food waste is contributing to the earth’s environmental crisis. Natural resources like water and fossil fuels that are used to grow, ship, store, and prepare food is wasted when food goes into the trash. More food is put in landfills than any other material. Food in landfills creates methane, a contributing cause of climate change. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas contributor in the world, behind China and the U.S.

“At BriarPatch, we are taking a closer look at what we can do as a retailer to reduce food waste. Our current efforts to keep food out of the landfill includes a robust “Free for Staff” program when foods reach their best buy date. We partner with local farmers and ranchers who pick up nearly a ton of fruit and vegetable scraps each week (culls from the produce department and pulp from the juice bar) for use as compost and animal feed,” said Sustainability Coordinator Lauren Scott.

By making small shifts in daily habits like shopping, storing and preparing food, individuals can make a big difference.

To get started, BriarPatch Food Co-op’s food waste campaign includes a weekly food waste diary to help people track how much food they waste and see where it goes. Other resources include a monthly calendar with different themed activities and social events like a film night in February and mixers throughout the year. Participants are encouraged to follow the Co-op website and social media channels for updates and tips and to share challenges and successes. Look for the “Food Too Good to Waste” guide in the store and as a downloadable PDF online.

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BriarPatch Food Co-op is a community-owned cooperative grocery store that provides quality food and other healthy living products, supports social justice and environmental causes, and works directly with farmers and businesses committed to regenerative agriculture, sustainability, humane practices and organic principles.