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USDA challenge: Reduce food waste to promote your organization.

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Mel Evans/AP/File

(Read caption) A worker removes leaves as nectarines get sorted for packaging at Eastern ProPak Farmers Cooperative in Glassboro, N.J. The US Department of Agriculture has organized the US Food Waste Challenge to encourage Americans to reduce and recover food waste.

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Excited Argentine and German fans will fill Maracana stadium in Brazil to watch their teams compete in the finals of the 2014 World Cup. Do you know what else could fill the famed Maracana stadium? The amount of food Americans waste every day.  

By now, you have probably heard the 30 percent to 40 percent statistic when people talk about how much food Americans waste. This statistic, which is based on estimates from US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service on food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and US $161 billion worth of food in 2010. Shameful, shocking– is the response that many of us feel. But what are we going to do about it?

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The USDA wants to recognize the organizations, companies, schools, and cities doing something to reduce the amount of food they waste. Whether it is vermicomposting, biogas production, food bank donations, or simple marketing techniques that reduce, recycle, or recover food waste, we want to hear about it. By adding the name of your organization to the list of participants in the US Food Waste Challenge, you will help build momentum around the movement to reduce food waste in the United States. It takes less than five minutes to join the US Food Waste Challenge (just four simple questions about your organization and food-waste activities) but the benefits are long lasting. Through promotion of the US Food Waste Challenge, USDA will advertise your organization and its food waste reduction activities. And, most importantly, by demonstrating your leadership, you will help inspire other organizations to do their part to reduce, recover and recycle food waste. 

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Let’s hope that by the time the next World Cup rolls around in 2018 – and we’re watching the US team in the finals—that we have reduced the amount of food waste in the United States. Together I believe that we will win!