Mayor Barry Challenges Local Restaurants to Reduce Food Waste
Mayor’s Food Saver Challenge Launches at James Beard Training for Area Chefs
Mayor Megan Barry is challenging local restaurants to reduce the amount of food wasted in their kitchens by participating in The Mayor’s Food Saver Challenge for restaurants – a joint project with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Nashville Food Waste Initiative. Mayor Barry is the first mayor in the Southeast to issue such a challenge.
The Challenge was launched at the James Beard Foundation's Chef Advocacy Training in Nashville on Monday – where 21 well-known local chefs received training, led by national experts, on strategies to reduce restaurant food waste. Participating chefs included Maneet Chauhan, Levon Wallace, Jeremy Barlow, Matt Bolus and Deb Paquette.
“Our local restaurants have helped put Nashville dining on the map, to where we’re now recognized nationwide as a culinary destination city. But we know that too much of that good food is going to waste—and good money along with it,” Barry said. “Nashville’s restaurants have the creative ingenuity to demonstrate to the rest of the country how to keep more of our world-class dishes on people’s plates and out of the landfill.”
Chefs, owners, and managers from local restaurants of all sizes are encouraged to visit Nashville.gov to learn more and sign up for the Mayor’s Food Saver Challenge for restaurants.
“From my 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, I know there’s a lot we can do in our kitchens to save more food, as well as money,” said Seema Prasad, owner of Miel. “No chef wants to see their hard work end up in the trash. This Challenge can potentially be a catalyst for change throughout the city.”
Forty percent of all food in America goes uneaten, with 95 percent of that wasted food ending up in landfills or incinerators, according to NRDC. Restaurants can have a significant impact on combating this problem by preventing food from being wasted in the first place, as well as donating wholesome excess food to nonprofits working to relieve hunger among people in need.
“When we trash food, we also trash everything it took to get it to our plates—land, water, money, labor and love,” said Darby Hoover, senior scientist at NRDC. “Fortunately, small operational changes go a long way toward saving more. Nashville’s food is too good to waste.”
Restaurants participating in the Challenge are asked to:
- Select and implement practices from a menu of options to prevent food waste, donate food and/or recycle food scraps; and
- Report on progress at the start and finish of the Challenge.
Cities play a critical role in mitigating America’s food waste. In 2015, NRDC selected Nashville as its pilot city for developing high-impact local policies and on-the-ground actions to address food waste. In partnership with the Mayor’s Livable Nashville Committee, Metro departments, and other local stakeholders, the Nashville Food Waste Initiative is currently developing strategies and practical tools to serve as models for other U.S. cities.
About NRDC: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing.
About the James Beard Foundation's Chef Advocacy Training: Part of the James Beard Foundation Impact Programs, the Chef Advocacy Training provides a unique opportunity for civically and politically minded chefs to become more effective leaders for food-system change. During thematic retreats around the country, participants receive advocacy and media training while learning about important issues, challenges and opportunities facing the food world. The goal is to build a growing network of like-minded chefs, provide support for personal interests and passions, and give tools and guidance that will help them act as influential advocates.
About Mayor Megan Barry’s Livable Nashville Committee: The Livable Nashville Committee is working to develop a shared vision for protecting and enhancing Nashville’s livability and environmental quality. The Committee, co-chaired by Beth Geer and Walker Mathews, consists of five subcommittees: Natural Resources, Mobility, Waste Reduction and Recycling, Green Buildings, Climate and Energy. The public is invited to comment on the Committee’s full set of recommendations around food-waste and other issues when they are released on Feb. 7, 10AM at the Downtown Library, and at Nashville.gov for the following month.