Design Strategist
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Tackling Institutional Food Waste

A sustainable food distribution venture that seeks to address the impact of food waste on our natural and social systems.

Food Waste. Image by Annie Spratt

Food Waste. Image by Annie Spratt

 
 
 
Efforts to reduce food waste can address emissions and ease pressure on resources of all kinds, while enabling society more effectively to supply future food demand.
— Paul Hawken
 
 

PROJECT OUTCOME

A local food distribution venture that provides healthy local food to the NYC metropolitan area while simultaneously addressing food waste at the post-consumer institutional level.

GENERAL INFO

Team: Beatrice Mauger, Daniela V Sánchez, Taylor Vogt
Location: New York
Role: Sustainability Strategist


 
 
 

CONTEXT

 
America does not eat 40 percent of its food. Annually throwing away 400 pounds of food per person. That’s a loss of up to $218 billion each year.
— NRDC, Wasted Report
 

Across the world a third of food does not make it to the table, at the same time, 800 million people worldwide face hunger, and 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions are being caused directly by food waste. This means that “people who need food are not getting it, and food that is not getting consumed is heating up the planet” (Hawken, 2017). In fact, in 2017 Paul Hawken outlined reducing food waste as the number three strategy to reverse global warming.

In response to this, my team and I co-started ‘Ferere’ (which stands for: Feed, Reduce, and Reuse) a local food distribution venture that seeks to address the impact of food waste on our natural and social systems. In particular, our aim was to analyze the entire life-cycle of food, from farm, to distribution, to fork, to landfill, and from our findings design a new local business venture.


MY ROLE

The following three areas explain in more detail the extent of my role.

  1. Interdisciplinary Research - problem framing, implementing secondary research, synthesizing and communicating research learnings.

  2. Sustainability Strategist - leading the use of sustainability practices and strategies throughout both research and development.

  3. Visualization & Systems Thinking - using visualization and systems thinking practices to drive collaboration as well as communicate and visualize the project venture.


OUTCOME

A local food distribution venture that provides healthy local food to the NYC metropolitan area while simultaneously addressing food waste at the post-consumer institutional level.

‘Ferere’ business strategy

‘Ferere’ business strategy

Given that all across the cycle of food, opportunities are being wasted. My team and I decided to build a pilot project and venture for local food distribution that takes into account the entire life cycle of food, from fork to landfill. ‘Ferere’’ does this with a two-prong strategy by:

  1. Distributing local healthy food to institutions (universities, schools, hotels, and healthcare facilities) in the New York City Metropolitan area.

  2. Closing life-cycle loops in the food system by picking up oil and food waste from local businesses and turning it into biodiesel (using an anaerobic digester) to power our truck fleets, and compost for Hudson Valley farmers.

In this way, ‘‘Ferere’ seeks to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals ‘3, Good Health and Well-being’, as well as ‘12, Responsible Consumption & Production’. Targeting institutions within the NYC metropolitan area, and considering the following elements as mechanisms to address food waste at the post-consumer level:

  1. Thinking locally - partnering with regional farmers, providing local food to institutions, and picking up oil and food waste from local businesses.

  2. Transparency - implementing the new Food Loss and Waste Protocol, publicly reporting on a quarterly basis our levels of food waste and carbon footprint, setting target reduction dates and benchmarks in order to measure and streamline operations.

  3. Circular Thinking - closing loops and reuse food across its entire life cycle by:

    1. Converting food waste into compost and selling it back into the system.

    2. Converting oil waste into biodiesel with an anaerobic digester and then using the biodiesel to fuel our fleet of trucks.

    3. Using biodegradable packaging whenver packaging can’t be eliminated.

 
 

DETAILED INFORMATION

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