Wasted Food Reduction Across the Hierarchy at UMass Amherst

By Kevin Pink, Marketing & Development Assistant

EPA Food Recovery HierarchyIt’s no secret that wasted food is a big issue in America. According to the USDA, 30- 40% of food produced in this country goes uneaten every year. In 2010, this amounted to 133 billion pounds of food, worth $161 billion. This wasted food doesn’t go to the American households classified as food insecure (12.3% of American households in 2016), but instead often ends up in landfills, where it creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Colleges and universities serve thousands of meals daily, and thus have the potential to produce a significant amount of wasted food. UMass Dining Services is the largest college dining services operation in the nation, serving 45,000 meals daily or 5.5 million meals per year. UMass takes a concerted approach to reducing wasted food along the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy.

So how is UMass addressing the Food Recovery Hierarchy? Here are a few examples!

Source Reduction: Reduce the volume of surplus food generated.

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Massachusetts Farm Energy Program Offers Workshops to Help Farms and Rural Businesses Apply for Grants

By Megan Denardo, Program Specialist

The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP), a joint project of the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), is hosting two webinars later this month to help farms apply for the upcoming REAP grant.

The Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, is a federal grant program that provides funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program is able to provide free assistance to farms and rural small businesses throughout Massachusetts who are interested in applying to this grant.

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MA Teachers, Students, and Parents: Register for the GREEN TEAM!

Calling all students, teachers, and parents of Massachusetts! GREEN TEAM registration for the 2017-2018 school year is now open.

The GREEN TEAM is a state-wide environmental education initiative, sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The GREEN TEAM offers fun and interactive educational programming, and provides the tools for students and teachers to learn more about how to address key issues of environmental sustainability! The GREEN TEAM provides teachers with lesson plans and activities aligned with current Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education Curriculum Frameworks, including:

  • Science and Technology/Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • English Language Arts
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Mass Energy’s 7th Annual Clean Energy Festival

By Kevin Pink, Marketing & Development Specialist

Photo credit: Mass Energy Consumers Alliance

 

On July 23, 2017, we co-hosted a tour of the Berkshire East wind turbine and solar array with the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance! Berkshire East is the world’s first ski area to generate 100% of their electric need on site using clean energy. Berkshire East’s electricity comes from its 900kWh wind turbine and 500kWh solar facility.

It was a beautiful day for the event! Guests took a chairlift ride up the mountain, had a delicious lunch from Cliff’s Backyard BBQ, learned about the Berkshire East wind turbine, hiked over to the solar array, and then enjoyed Berkshire East’s Mountain Coaster or went zip-lining! Several guests also brought their electric vehicles for an EV showcase, all of which are available through Drive Green with Mass Energy.

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Nutritious Food Waste: Waste Not, Want Not!

By Shomita Bhattacharya, Program Specialist

According to the USDA, America wastes 30-40% of our food supply every year. In 2010, this totaled 133 billion pounds of food, worth $161 billion! These are large numbers that describe the food waste of the entire nation, but what do they mean in terms of individuals like you and me? The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future analyzed the nutritional composition of wasted food in the United States, and found that on average, the amount of food wasted per person per day in the US is equivalent to:

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