West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and partners will host the West Michigan Food Waste Summit on Monday, May 21 at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College, the capstone event of the Western Michigan Food Recovery Council pilot project.
The half-day event will provide an opportunity for businesses, institutions and other stakeholders to learn about food waste and discuss local challenges and opportunities for food rescue and recovery.
Keynote speaker is JD Lindeberg, President of national sustainability consulting firm Resource Recycling Systems and a principal researcher for the Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data (ReFED) Roadmap.
Formed in 2015, ReFED is a collaboration of over 30 business, nonprofit and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste by up to 50% by 2030. The Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste was the first-ever national economic study of food waste to provide a feasible guide for action. ReFED’s 27 recommended solutions seek to unlock new philanthropic and investment capital, along with technology and policy innovation, to catalyze over 15,000 new jobs, recover nearly two billion meals for the hungry, and achieve significant reductions in our national water use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaker sessions include:
- A Proven Model for Prepared Food Recovery: FireKeepers Casino
- Business Case for Starting Up A Compost Program
- Reducing Cost and Waste Through Source Reduction Programs
- Overcoming Real and Perceived Barriers to Food Donation
- Composters Roundtable: Barriers and Opportunities
The Food Waste Summit is presented through a collaboration of West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College, the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Grand Valley State University, the Michigan Local Food Council Network, and other council members.
Registration is now closed. Walk-ins will be accepted.
A recent study by West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum found that Michigan disposes of an estimated 1.1 million tons of food waste through its municipal waste stream each year, the single largest source of material disposed in the state’s landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. West Michigan disposes of an estimated 132,000 tons of food waste, while Southwest Michigan disposes of an estimated 106,000 tons of food waste. Nationally, the USDA estimates that as much as 40% of food purchased ends up as waste.
The Western Michigan Food Recovery Council was formed to promote food recovery among local businesses and institutions by providing access to peer-to-peer education, multidisciplinary networking, technical resources, and opportunities for collaboration. In its first year, the council established a knowledgeable and diverse working group of professionals involved in food recovery and diversion.
Attendees are encouraged to have their organization participate in the pre-summit survey. WMSBF is currently collecting data from council members and other stakeholders in preparation for the summit and a report on current food recovery and organic recycling practice, opportunity, and needs in the region. The survey can be found here.
- Stimulate a community dialogue on local food recovery needs and opportunities.
- Introduce possibilities of food waste diversion and food rescue to local decision-makers and influencers.
- Educate local businesses and institutions on food diversion tactics and strategies.
- Provide a capstone experience for the stakeholder participants of the WMFRC pilot project.
Who Should Attend?
- Decision makers and influencers at food and food service organizations (hospitality, grocery, manufacturing, agriculture etc.), and at organizations and institutions with food service
- Food industry influencers at organizations that generate food waste (eg: sustainability directors)
- Hunger-relief organizations and advocates
- Waste management professionals and stakeholders
- Food industry vendors
- Municipalities and community advocates
- Environmental educators and advocates
- Other interested parties
West Michigan Food Waste Summit
Monday, May 21
11:30 am to 4:30 pm
Secchia Institute for Culinary Education
Grand Rapids Community College – Applied Technology Center Rooms 120, 122, & 124
151 Fountain St. NE
Grand Rapids, 49503
$15 online / $25 at event
11:30 Doors Open
11:45 Lunch served
12:30 Welcome and Introductions
12:40 Keynote: JD Lindeberg, President, Resource Recycling Systems
1:50 Janine Oberstadt: Reducing Cost and Waste Through Source Reduction Programs
2:10 Michael McFarlen: Proven Model for Prepared Food Recovery
2:40 Kate Binder: Business Case for Starting Up A Compost Program
3:15 Adam Brent: Composters Roundtable: Barriers and Opportunities
3:30 Mallory Weber, Feeding America: Overcoming Real and Perceived Barriers to Food Donation
3:45 Daniel Schoonmaker: State of Food Recovery in West Michigan
4:00 Open discussion
Parking: Available first come first serve parking below the GRCC Applied Technology Center no charge, however this parking area has a capacity that may be reached. Also available is the GRCC parking ramp across the street from the GRCC Applied Technology Center, which WMSBF will have parking passes for at the Food Waste Summit.