11 Ways You Can Support The Fight Against Food Waste

Did you know 68 percent of all greens grown for bagged salads ends up wasted, with the majority of waste happening at home? Let's make a change.

As part of HuffPost’s “Reclaim” project, HuffPost Taste will focus the entire month of July on simple ways you can reduce food waste in your own home.

Between spoiled items from the grocery store, leftovers from restaurants and waste in our very own homes, landfills are being filled with food that would be better served elsewhere. Every year in America an estimated 133 billion pounds of perfectly good food gets trashed. It's a staggering number that has, luckily, jolted some folks into action. Innovative companies, such as Food Cowboy, are using today's technology to fight the waste in grocery stores. Others, like Imperfect Produce, are finding homes (and mouths) for perfectly good "cosmetically challenged produce" that farmers have trouble selling.

If you're looking for ways to help in the fight against food waste, there's a number of things you can do. For one, you can take the issue head on in your own kitchen. Or, you can support the folks who are trying to tackle the issue on a national level. Check out the 11 forward-thinking food companies that are making a difference in our nation.

Imperfect Produce
Imperfect Produce
Imperfect produce is saving the ugly carrots, potatoes and pears of the world and bringing them to your door (so long as you live in California). They connect farmers with ugly produce they cannot sell to grocery stores with consumers for a discounted price.
"Grow gardens. Not landfills." That's the mission behind EcoScraps. The company gathers food scraps from grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, cafeterias, public venues, stadiums and colleges, and recycles them into organic, sustainable garden products.
Food Cowboy
Food Cowboy
A truckload of food can be rejected by a grocery story if a single crushed box is on it. Once that happens, the cheapest thing for a lot of farmers who have to eat the delivery cost is to discard it at the nearest dump. That's where Food Cowboy steps in. They connect truckloads of rejected food to charities and other organizations.
Society of St. Andrews
Society of St. Andrews
The Society of St. Andrews connects volunteers with farms to glean the fields for unpicked produce after the harvest. That produce is then delivered to food banks. They are largely set up in the south, but are looking for efforts all over the country.
Food Recovery Network
Food Recovery Network
Since 2011, Food Recovery Network has recovered 1,324,680 pounds of food. They take leftover food from university dining halls and deliver them to local food shelters. It was started by students at the University of Maryland, and now has 192 chapters across the country.
Cerplus connects farmers with wholesale buyers to help them unload their ugly or overly-ripe produce for a cheap price. They also handle the recovery and delivery of the produce.
Zero Percent
Zero Percent
Zero percent is an app that connects restaurants and stores with excess food to different neighborhood charities that run meal programs in the Chicago area.
Organix Recycling
Organix Recycling collects over seven million pounds of organic waste from over 6,000 supermarkets in more than 34 states every single week. That is huge. And then they recycle it in a number of ways -- such as bringing it to places that can use it as food or composting it if there are no other options.
Postharvest Education Foundation
Postharvest Education Foundation
Postharvest losses count for about 30 percent of a farmer's harvest. And that's mostly a result of poor access to proper storage or because of the long distance goods have to travel to get to market. The Postharvest Education Foundation is seeking to provide innovative programs to help reduce that number globally.
D.C. Central Kitchen
d.c. central kitchen
D.C. Central Kitchen makes 5,000 meals a day to be delivered to homeless shelters and nonprofits around D.C. They produce their meals from recycled food -- mostly donated from local farms with blemished produce that would have gone to waste.
Farm Raiser
Farm Raiser connects students and schools with fresh, local produce and artisanal products as a healthy option for fundraising. (Say goodbye to the generic chocolate bars.) The company's main mission is not to fight food waste, but to connect farmers with students (which in turn helps farmers sell more product, waste less harvest). The students can earn 53 percent of the profits and 85 percent of sales stays in the local economy.
Take Action Now
Join thousands of Americans calling on Walmart to help reduce food waste by mounting a comprehensive campaign to sell "ugly" fruit and vegetables.
Sign the petition at Change.org

Language in the petition embedded in this entry has been updated to reflect Walmart’s recent efforts to sell some “ugly” produce in the U.S.

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