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To highlight all the collaborative work that GCCA and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have been doing to reduce food loss and waste, Senior Director of Food Loss and Waste for WWF, Pete Pearson and GCCA’s Vice President of International Programs, Richard Tracy, participated in Through the Noise’s special podcast for National Stop Food Waste Day. The discussion focused on the producer and consumer sides of food waste, as well as current projects GCCA and WWF are working on to understand and reduce post-harvest loss.
According to Pearson, one of the primary factors driving the focus on agricultural practices is that roughly 70 percent of lost biodiversity can be attributed to the expansion of humans’ agricultural footprint. In the U.S., between 30 to 40 percent of food goes to the landfill. This statistic contrasts starkly with the people who struggle with hunger domestically. Tracy noted that waste is due to a multitude of factors, such as not implementing best practices for cultivating and processing, not having a contingency plan for when market prices fluctuate, and the need for the U.S. to change its mentality surrounding food.
In their collaborations, GCCA and WWF have produced a report called No Food Left Behind, which undertook field studies that quantified the amount of loss per crops on farms and assessed the water and greenhouse gases associated with cultivation and production while interviewing farmers about their practices and experiences. The initial study GCCA and WWF focused on the post-harvest loss of New Jersey peaches. Visiting farms and observing the production and processing process gave a more tangible example of the scale of waste that is happening.
While solving food waste and food insecurity is a tall order, much can be accomplished by delivering produce from point A to point B in a more efficient manner. This is where Tracy believes disparities in infrastructure and best practices inhibits food maximization. His solution involves tapping into existing resources and technologies to better utilize the land that is already allocated to agricultural production. The issue must also be connected back to the community, and he sees third party logistic organizations as the glue because 3PLs are involved in each step of the value chain from producer to retailer. With the research both organizations have done to address this global issue on a local scale and through generous grants and donations from private donors, both GCCA and WWF are leading the charge in creating more efficient agricultural practices and reducing the impact humans have on the planet.
If you would like to listen to the full podcast, it is located here.