About Minnesota Food Waste Forum

The Minnesota Food Waste Forum is a regional effort to improve food security and reduce the environmental impacts of food loss and waste in the Upper Midwest. The Forum is continually developing with new members and organizations, and open to all who are interested in impacting the problem of food waste.

Minnesota is a worldwide leader in food system innovation, but much more is needed to address food waste. The MSP region is home to many of the world’s most successful food companies, creative local and state government agencies, and sophisticated network of NGOs that provide both direct service and advocacy. The University of Minnesota also provides comprehensive research and engagement expertise in the prevention, recovery, and recycling aspects of food waste. However, the most promising solutions are often held back because new partnerships are required among these actors.

Because food waste is a systemic problem, we need adaptive collaborations that reach across universities, companies, NGOs, and governments. This site is a tool to support these collaborations. Originally created through a small planning team, membership is open to all stakeholders, with project priorities and their corresponding effort driven by members.

Our focus is enabling action among non-traditional partners to promote adaptive strategies for food waste prevention, reduction, and recycling. Here, we define food waste to mean any food that is grown or produced for human consumption but that is not eaten. For simplicity, we use “food waste” to also include the term “food loss.” Building from a general understanding of the problem of food waste, this forum uses the ReFED Roadmap to organize new solutions across sectors.

 

Goals include:

  • Convene stakeholders from across sectors and across the food supply chain to discover new opportunities for collaboration.
  • Identify a series of high-priority topics where viable pilot or interim projects could be tried, with some facilitation and support from the MN Food Waste Working Group.
  • Lead research efforts to better specify opportunities to reduce food loss and waste in Minnesota.

 

Planning team

The planning team originated from conversations at a Convergence Colloquia focused on Food Systems at the University of Minnesota. The University subsequently funded the group through a Serendipity Grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR).

The food waste forum includes members from over thirty organizations across the public and private sectors. The planning team includes:

  • Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
  • The Food Group
  • Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services
  • Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
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