Reducing food waste in agriculture settings: A guide for residents of Polk, Story, and surrounding counties
Statistics show that 40% of the food produced in the United States each year is either left to decompose in the field or taken to a landfill. This amount of waste equals approximately $165 billion discarded by Americans each year (Move for Hunger, 2018). To better understand potential solutions to the problem of food waste, six farmers and seven employees of food donation organizations were interviewed about the issue. Interview questions designed for farmers asked how they currently reduce food waste and what forms of information would be helpful in supporting them to increase food waste reduction efforts. Questions designed for food donation organizations asked how they currently raise awareness about their program and what form of services they could offer to farmers interested in donating. Interviews revealed the barriers that keep farmers from donating and the types of informational materials that would be beneficial to promote food donation. Key themes from the interviews were used to decide what information to include within this toolkit. The intended purpose of the toolkit is to help those in the agriculture industry connect more easily with food donation organizations and find better alternatives to food waste.