Waste Not, Want Not: How We Can Use Food to Feed People Instead of Landfills

Did you know that Americans waste 40% of the food we produce for consumption?

On February 18, leading experts in the field of food waste gathered at HLS for a panel discussion about this complex problem. The panelists discussed food waste at various levels of the food chain – consumer, retail, and farm – as well as the issue of expiration dates (best by/use by/sell by dates) and offered innovative solutions that can be employed to make sure that more food gets used in productive ways rather than going to waste. After the panelist presentations, audience members asked engaging and thought-provoking questions, ranging from issues of food safety to the impact of a lack of food and cooking knowledge on our ability to use food efficiently.

The panelists brought unique perspectives and a wealth of experience to the discussion: Jose Alvarez is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and former President and CEO of Stop + Shop; Jonathan Bloom is the author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It); Dana Gunders is a Project Scientist in Food & Agriculture at Natural Resources Defense Council and author of several reports on food waste; Doug Rauch is the former President of Trader Joe’s who is now working on the “Urban Food Initiative” to reduce food waste and increase healthy food access; and Emily Broad Leib is Director of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, which has been working on the issue of retail and consumer food waste related to food expiration dates.

The co-sponsors of the event were: Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, Harvard Food Law Society, Environmental Law Review, Environmental Law Society, and HBS Social Enterprise Club.

The event was recorded and is available for viewing below:


(Note: You will need a QuickTime player and should use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Make sure to click to allow the video to run if prompted. It will not play on Internet Explorer.)

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