WASHINGTON DC – Today Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) along with Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced the bipartite School Food Recovery Act. This bill will create a new program at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support schools working on food waste reduction projects.
Representatives Newhouse and Pingree recently relaunched the Food Recovery Caucus, a bipartisan group of members who are committed to reducing food waste nationwide in recognition of the environmental and economic damage of food waste.
“Most Americans are shocked when they find out that 40% of this country’s food is wasted. The School Food Recovery Act can help alleviate this problem by empowering our schools to lead food recovery ”, said Rep Newhouse. This bill will give our school boards and administrations the resources they need to educate staff and students about proper sustainability and prevention. I am proud to join with Representatives Pingree and Bonamici as we continue to support important reforms that will reduce food loss and ensure our students have access to the healthy food that American farmers and ranchers work so hard to supply.
“An estimated 530,000 tonnes of food is wasted in American schools each year, costing us up to $ 1.7 billion and emitting nearly 2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. Rather than ending up in landfills, these meals should feed our students ”, said representative Pingree. “The K-12 education system provides a great opportunity to work collaboratively with creative educators, school nutrition professionals and students to reduce food waste in schools and create lifestyles that will reduce loss and waste. food. With these grants, schools could purchase new equipment, train staff, or create food recovery programs in their cafeterias. I am proud to present this bill alongside representatives Newhouse and Bonamici to promote innovation and fight against food waste in schools in our country.
“Reducing food waste in schools will give students the opportunity to develop responsible habits that can benefit their communities and our planet throughout their lives”, said representative Bonamici. “I am happy to present to you the bipartite School Food Recovery Act with Representatives Pingree and Newhouse so that schools have the support and resources they need to engage in major food waste reduction programs.
The School Food Recovery Act would create a new program at USDA that would provide grants to schools to work on food waste reduction projects. Schools would be eligible if they participate in the National School Meals Program or the School Breakfast Program. This funding would support capacity building and the implementation of food waste measurement and reduction programs in schools. Eligible grant activities would include food waste measurement and reporting, prevention, education and reduction projects, including the purchase of equipment and training. Federal grants would not exceed 75% of the total cost of the project.
The World Wildlife Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, ReFED, and Harvard Food Law Policy Center recently released a Food Loss and Waste Policy Plan for Congress and the Biden administration. The ambitious but achievable set of policy recommendations includes an endorsement of the School Food Recovery Act.
Representative Newhouse is currently co-chair of the Biparty Food Recovery Caucus with Representative Pingree.