UT Extension Encourages Tennesseans to Rethink Food Habits
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Have you ever paused to consider how much food is wasted in your household? The amount may surprise you. The USDA estimates that more than one-third of the food available in the United States is never eaten. At the same time, more than 13 million households in the U.S. were uncertain of having, or unable to access, enough food for all household members in 2021. This year, University of Tennessee Extension is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and others to encourage Tennesseans to be better stewards of their food resources.
During the week of April 10-16, 2023, the TDEC Office of Sustainable Practices is hosting Tennessee’s second annual Food Waste Awareness Week. This event will take place across the state with both virtual and in-person opportunities to participate. This free event is available to everyone, and the goals are to increase awareness about issues surrounding food waste and inspire Tennesseans to take action.
Kristen Johnson, UT Extension Family and Consumer Science assistant professor and nutrition specialist says, “Preventing food waste is an important issue for everyone. In fact, the amount of food wasted each year in the United States could provide enough calories to feed over 150 million people. Preventing food waste benefits our environment, helps feed the world’s growing population sustainably, and helps households better manage their food resources. In fact, the average household of four in the United States spends about $1,500 each year on food they never use. We want to help people make the most of their resources. There are steps we can all take, like meal planning, using leftovers, and composting, that can help us manage our resources, save money, and reduce food waste.”
The week-long event will have daily themes and various opportunities to get involved, including a statewide food drive that lasts from April 3-21. More than 40 county Extension offices across the state, with staff from both UT and Tennessee State University, will host food drives to ensure their neighbors are fed and food is kept out of landfills. To conclude the week, breweries and bakeries have partnered in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville to host events featuring a limited-release specialty craft beer made from repurposing unsold bread. These family-friendly gatherings are available to anyone.
For more information on how to participate in Tennessee Food Waste Awareness Week, find a donation center or locate an event near you, visit getfoodsmarttn.com and follow TDEC and UTIA/FCS Extension on social media. To find nutrition classes through UT Extension and resources to help you reduce food waste and plan meals, visit utextension.tennessee.edu.
Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.