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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Harnessing Consumers & Communities to Help Meet U.S. Food Waste Reduction Goals

Aug. 26 Conference to Help Consumers, Communities Reduce Food Waste; Attend In Person or Online

This article originally appeared on the website of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In 2015, the Obama administration announced the nation’s first food waste reduction goal by calling for a 50 percent reduction in waste by the year 2030.

With current estimates that 40 percent of U.S. food, worth $165 billion dollars a year, is thrown away, reaching this ambitious target will require a concerted effort, said Brian Roe, the McCormick Professor of Agricultural Marketing and Policy in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

“Reducing food waste is a triple win,” Roe said. “We can improve the environment by reducing and diverting food waste from landfills. We can save households and municipalities money by not having to put waste into a landfill. And, these actions will make more food available to feed the hungry around Ohio and the country.”

On Aug. 26, Roe and several university partners will convene a conference aimed at helping communities reduce their food waste and better divert waste from landfills.

“Harnessing Consumers and Communities to Help Meet U.S. Food Waste Reduction Goals” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, on the Ohio State campus.

The morning session will be streamed live via webinar to enable virtual participation. General registration for the full-day in-person event is $15, while student registration and webinar registration are free.

Participants can learn more and register at

Roe and his colleagues welcome representatives from city and municipal governments, private organizations, nonprofits, student organizations, and university partners from around the region, among others.  

“Anybody who wants to influence consumers or households on food waste reduction and diversion decisions is welcome to attend in person or to watch the live stream,” Roe said. “We hope that communities and organizations that have thought about starting a food waste program will feel empowered to do so after attending the event, whether in person or virtually. And that those who are already conducting programs will be able to find help in taking their programs to the next level.”

The morning session will feature national and local experts who will share current trends and best practices regarding food waste reduction and diversion efforts. The afternoon will offer participants the opportunity to discuss current and potential waste reduction or redirection programs in their own communities and organizations. A panel of experts from the university will be available to field questions and discuss possible research collaboration projects.

Roe has conducted extensive research on food waste. He recently published a study that was the first in the U.S. to identify patterns regarding how Americans form attitudes on food waste. He has appointments with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the outreach and research arms of the college.

Besides the college and the McCormick Program, the conference is being sponsored by the Ohio State Sustainability Fund, the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation, the Food Innovation Center, and the Sustainable and Resilient Economy Discovery Theme, all part of The Ohio State University.

Image: An Aug. 26 conference will draw together community leaders and consumers interested in discussing the best ways to reduce food waste across the U.S. (photo: iStock)