New Report: Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2018 Farm Bill
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, with support from Food Policy Action and ReFED, released Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2018 Farm Bill, which outlines 17 recommendations that Congress can implement to tackle food waste in the next farm bill. 40% of food in the U.S. ends up in the landfill instead of on our plates, and it costs us $218 billion each year to produce, process, transport, and dispose of this waste. But there are ample opportunities to turn this around.
The farm bill is an omnibus package of federal legislation, reauthorized every 5 to 7 years, that shapes virtually every aspect of our food and agricultural system. But although it allocates nearly $500 billion every 5 years, not a single dollar is spent to ensure that the food we produce actually makes it to our plates. In 2015, USDA and EPA announced the first-ever U.S. food waste reduction goal—a bold and aggressive target of halving our food waste by 2030. As the first farm bill to be passed since the announcement of that goal, the 2018 Farm Bill offers a critical opportunity for Congress to take concrete steps to break our food waste habit. With preparations for the 2018 Farm Bill already under way, now is the time to rethink the role the federal government should play in reducing food waste to protect people, preserve our planet, and increase profits.
Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2018 Farm Bill presents a range of different solutions, from small modifications that add food waste reduction opportunities to established programs, to new initiatives or programs that could catalyze larger-scale food waste action and awareness. The report offers Congress a menu of options to reduce the astonishing amount of U.S. food waste for the good of the American people, the planet, and the economy.