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TDEC Announces Inaugural Food Waste Initiative Participants

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 | 10:08am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced the first group of participants in Get Food Smart TN – a statewide initiative aimed at reducing food waste. The inaugural class was recognized on April 20, 2018 at an event hosted by former TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau and TDEC Assistant Commissioner Dr. Kendra Abkowitz Brooks at the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower in Nashville.

“The mission of Get Food Smart TN is to promote using food wisely and enhance the sustainability of Tennessee’s food resources,” Brooks said. “It’s the first of its kind for a state environmental agency and parallels TDEC’s broader mission to reduce harmful air emissions and wasted water, energy and land resources.”

The program’s first round of participants includes: Austin Peay State University, The Compost Fairy, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Kroger, Lupi’s Pizza Pies, Memphis Tilth, Miel restaurant, Music City Center, The Nashville Food Project, Nourish Knoxville, Prescott South Middle School and The Society of St. Andrew. Eligible entities include schools, restaurants, government entities, nonprofits, grocers, industry and agriculture. Program benefits include state recognition and technical assistance.

“We want to make sure we are rescuing all the food that we can,” said Melissa Eads, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Nashville Division. “Last fall we announced our Zero Hunger Zero Waste program that outlines our commitment to ending hunger and eliminating food waste by 2025. What TDEC is trying to do is what we’re trying to do, and we’re happy to support one another.”

Efforts by other participating organizations include garden to table programs, composting food scraps and donating food resources to anti-hunger organizations.

“Over time we hope to expand Get Food Smart TN to include workshops and financial resources for members,” Brooks said. “Interested organizations don’t have to wait until then to participate. We encourage everyone to join us in reducing, recovering and diverting food waste wherever possible.”

TDEC will recognize one entity as the Tennessee Food Smart Organization of the Year in March 2019. For more information about Get Food Smart TN, visit http://getfoodsmarttn.com/.