Dakota County launching campaign to reduce food waste


Discarded food – like last week’s leftovers and milk that spent too long at the back of the fridge – make up 17 percent of waste in Minnesota.  That’s why Dakota County is launching a new initiative to keep good food from going to waste. The new program will increase awareness of how much food is being discarded and provide resources to better shop, store and cook food. 

Through the “Save the Food” national public service campaign, Dakota County is collaborating with the Ad Council and Natural Resources Defense Council to build consumer awareness and action to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste.  

“More food gets wasted in our homes than any other part of our food system,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp of the Natural Resources Defense Council.  “Wasting food costs the average family $1500 per year. Fortunately, consumers can be a big part of the solution, saving food and saving money at the same time.”   

In the U.S., up to 40 percent of our food supply goes uneaten each year. Residents interviewed for Dakota County focus groups in 2016 stated they are frustrated with, and feel guilty about, food waste and the associated money wasted. 

When we throw uneaten food in the trash or even compost pile, we’re wasting much more than food—we waste the water, energy, fuel, labor, pesticides, land and fertilizers used to produce, process,  transport and keep it cold. About 21 percent of our nation’s fresh water is used to grow food that goes uneaten. In addition, once wasted food reaches landfills, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. On top of that, a huge amount of carbon pollution is created from food that is produced but is never eaten. 

Dakota County is taking the lead on conserving our natural resources by starting with a food waste prevention initiative. Preventing uneaten food from going to waste addresses the environmental cost of farming, processing, and transportation.

 “Altering consumer awareness and perception around the issue of food waste could have significant environmental, social and economic impact on our country,” said Lisa Sherman, Ad Council President & CEO. “By taking just a few simple steps around food storage, preservation, and use, the home cook has an incredible opportunity to reduce waste and minimize their environmental footprint.”

Dakota County residents will start seeing “Save the Food” videos, print materials, out-of-home and other materials in many locations across the county. City partners will also be sharing information in their newsletters and on public access channels. All videos, posters and print ads direct audiences to www.SaveTheFood.com, where they can learn more about the consequences of food waste and find practical tools and tips  on how to reduce the amount of food they waste at home. 

Residents can also visit www.dakotacounty.us to learn about local tools and resources like classes, food storage guides and tips on meal planning.




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