December 8, 2015
On Monday, December 7, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) introduced the Food Recovery Act (H.R. 4184) to curb food waste across the entire food system. She publicly announced the bill earlier the same day at the Portland Food Co-op in Portland, Maine.
The Food Recovery Act targets food waste in four areas: farms, retail and restaurants, schools and other institutions, and consumers and local infrastructure. The farm level recommendations aim to expand market options for farmers, help farmers connect with hungry people, and encourage energy and compost production as alternatives to landfills.
For example, one provision would require the Natural Resources Conservation Service to recognize composting as a conservation practice, allowing farmers to receive support for composting projects through the Conservation Stewardship Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and Conservation Innovation Grants Program.
Representative Pingree first spoke about her intention to introduce legislation targeting food waste at The New York Times Food for Tomorrow Conference in October. That was just a month after the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency announced the first national food waste reduction goal, aiming to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.
NSAC member organization Maine Farmland Trust is one of many organizations that provided feedback to Representative Pingree’s staff during drafting of the legislation. Amanda Beal is a Policy and Research Fellow at Maine Farmland Trust and was among those in attendance at the announcement in Portland.
“This multifaceted approach to addressing food waste has great potential to enhance opportunities for farmers to provide affordable, nutritional food to Maine people, as well as improve on-farm capacity for nutrient and energy management,” Beal said in a statement for Representative Pingree’s press release on the Act.
Representatives from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, another NSAC member organization and supporter of the Food Recovery Act, also attended the announcement event.
Representative Pingree has long been a vocal champion of sustainable food and farming issues. In the last Farm Bill debate, she championed legislation that aimed to expand support for local and regional food systems, and was the lead sponsor on the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act.
We appreciate Representative Pingree’s continued support of sustainable agriculture, and look forward to working together, with our members and other members of Congress, to ensure additional resources are made available to expand support for sustainable food systems.