Tennessee’s Inaugural Food Waste Awareness Week is April 4-9

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Have you ever paused to consider how much food goes to waste in your household? The amount may surprise you. The USDA estimates that more than one-third of the food available in the United States is never eaten. This year, University of Tennessee Extension is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and others to encourage Tennesseans to be better stewards of their food resources.

During the week of April 4-9, 2022, Tennessee’s inaugural Food Waste Awareness Week will take place across the state with both virtual and in-person opportunities to participate. This free event is available to everyone and the goal is to increase awareness about issues surrounding food waste and to inspire Tennesseans to take action.

 “The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that more food is placed in landfills than any other material,” said Ashley Cabrera, creative services coordinator with TDEC’s Office of Sustainable Practices. “Reducing this waste requires action by all, including farmers, businesses, institutions and consumers. Throughout the week, we will provide opportunities for participants to learn best practices and take action to help end food waste in Tennessee.”

 “We are excited to partner with TDEC for this inaugural event,” said Kristen Johnson, assistant professor and UT Extension nutrition specialist. “The USDA estimates that the average family of four spends about $1,500 on food that they never eat. We want to provide help to prevent this money loss and reduce food waste. Meal planning, buying a manageable amount of food and making sure to use the food before it spoils are all good practices.”

The week-long event will have daily themes and various opportunities to get involved, including a statewide food drive. For this, more than 40 county Extension offices across the state, with staff from both UT and Tennessee State University, will host food drives to ensure their neighbors are fed and food is kept out of landfills. To conclude the week, breweries and bakeries have partnered in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville to host events featuring a limited-release specialty craft beer made from repurposing unsold bread. These family-friendly gatherings are available to anyone.

For more information on how to participate in Tennessee Food Waste Awareness Week, find a donation center or locate an event near you, visit getfoodsmarttn.com and follow TDEC and UTIA/FC Extension on social media. To find nutrition classes through UT Extension and resources to help you reduce food waste and plan meals, visit utextension.tennessee.edu.

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