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State of the Bay

Combating Food Waste in the Bay Area

photo courtesy of http://blog.foodrunners.org/


Host: Joseph Pace

Producer: Susan Britton

It may not be our foremost in our minds as we scrape our unfinished meals and wilted kale into the compost, but the figures are stark: According to the U.S. EPA, Americans throw away 34 million tons of food every year, only a tiny percentage of which is recovered or recycled. By many estimates, this means that more than 40 percent of edible food in the U.S. goes to waste -- a figure all the more troubling, advocates point out, in light of the environmental and economic costs of producing, distributing and disposing of all this unwanted food, and the number of needy Americans whom it could feed. What policies, practices and cultural norms lead us to squander so much food? What can we do, from farm to fork, to reduce how much we waste? And how can we put surplus food to good use? This hour, we'll explore these questions and more, with a special emphasis on what Bay Area organizations and individuals are doing to raise awareness, reduce waste and direct discarded food to those in need.


Dana Gunders, Project Scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she focuses on food and agriculture issues.

Sue Sigler, Executive Director of the California Association of Food Banks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a well-nourished California through such initiatives as the Farm to Family program.

Aaron French, an East Bay-based chef, food blogger and the author, most recently, of the Bay Area Homegrown Cookbook.

Elizabeth Boileau, a San Francisco-based food activist and one of the founding board members of Food Runners, a volunteer organization dedicated to alleviating hunger and preventing food waste.