Food Industry EPA Food Steward's Pledge asks Religious Groups to Bust Food Waste

Published on February 22nd, 2016 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

0

EPA Food Steward’s Pledge asks Religious Groups to Bust Food Waste

The EPA Food Steward’s Pledge asks people of faith to learn more about the problem of food waste, to examine their own contribution to it, and then to take practical step to keep food out of landfills.

Administrator joined Miriam’s Kitchen and Western Presbyterian Church to announce EPA’s new Food Steward’s initiative.

Ever had to clean up after a wedding? A funeral? How about church/synagogue/mosque coffee hour? All of these events involve food, and the clean-up effort involves disposing of what’s left over. Despite the time, effort, and expense that went into preparing and serving these snacks and/or meals, the remains – edible or not – still often end up in the trash. Faith communities certainly make their own contributions to the 40% of food that gets wasted in the United States, and, now, the Environmental Protection Agency is targeting these same groups for working to reduce food waste.

The EPA Food Steward’s Pledge asks people of faith to learn more about the problem of food waste, to examine their own contribution to it, and then to take practical step to keep food out of landfills. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy tells NPR that faith communities are made up of “…incredibly motivated and dedicated people,” making them key to better addressing and systematizing how we address food waste in the US.

Certainly a big part of that motivation and dedication comes from tenants of belief found in most major religions. Taking care of the poor and hungry, for instance, already plays a role in many congregations’ community efforts: from small food pantries to organized meal delivery efforts, feeding people has always been a part of religious outreach. The Food Steward’s Pledge asks people of faith to think about the food they throw away within this context: why dump edible food when it could contribute to a community’s mission to feed others?

But food waste isn’t just about hunger: more broadly, it’s about the waste of resources like energy, water, and soil nutrition that goes into the food we eat. The EPA’s new effort also connects with existing faith-based environmental efforts focused on climate change, renewable energy use, and sustainable agricultural practices. So existing organizations like the Evangelical Environmental Network, or Creation Justice Ministries, make sensible targets for such an effort. EEN has already moved in this direction with its “Joseph’s Pledge” program that provides education for congregations to deal with food waste responsibly. Efforts like composting, and maybe even small-scale waste-to-energy projects, could pop up at churches, temples, and other centers of worship as these organizations work to wring every bit of use out of this “waste” while reducing their carbon footprints and other environmental impacts.

No doubt most congregations want to reduce their food waste: if anything, it’s a waste of money that could be used more effectively in a community’s ministry. Giving these groups guidance, as well as a network of similar groups dealing with these challenges, makes a lot of sense (without veering into support of religion). Does your congregation work to reduce/eliminate its food waste? Or is it thinking about joining the Food Steward’s program? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

Thanks to The Hunger Page on Facebook for the heads up!

Republished with permission from Sustainablog; image via EPA.

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!


Tags: , , , ,


About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑
  • Support our Site!

  • Advertisement

  • Let’s Connect!

  • Advertisement

  • Popular Posts & Pages


    Whether you are looking to completely give up animal products or just want to try eating vegan some of the time, we want to support you! Below, you’ll find articles answering some common questions about vegan cooking and nutrition. If you don’t see your question answered below, please get in touch with us! We are happy to investigate for you!

    Find out what's in season now, plus get plenty of recipe inspiration to help you make the most of every season's beautiful, local fare.

    I love infographics. When I came across this one about what, how, and when to plant vegetables, I thought I’d share. Keep reading after the pic for a few of my own lessons learned.

    Top Sustainable Food Jobs of the Week.

    Looking for an all vegan grocery store? Even if you’re not lucky enough to have one in your town, there are lots of online options for vegan grocery shopping.

  • Advertisement

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.


Shares