Five Questions with Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Meghan Stasz

From foodtank.com, by Meghan Stasz
Five Questions with Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Meghan Stasz

Food Tank, in partnership with the George Washington University, is hosting the 1st Annual Food Tank Summit in Washington D.C. on January 21-22, 2015.

This two-day event will feature more than 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together for panels on topics including food waste, urban agriculture, family farmers, farm workers, and more.

Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Meghan Stasz, Director of Sustainability at Grocery Manufacturers Association, who will be speaking at the summit.

Food Tank (FT): What will your message be at the Food Tank Summit?

Meghan Stasz (MS): I’ll be talking about the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), an innovative partnership between the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, and the National Restaurant Association, launched in 2011. This effort brings together the food manufacturing, retail grocery, and restaurant sector to address food waste in the U.S. with a particular focus on our section of the supply chain. Our goals are to reduce the amount of food waste generated, donate as much safe, nutritious food as possible, and recycle unavoidable food waste via solutions like anaerobic digestion or composting.

(FT): How are you contributing to building a better food system?

(MS): The FWRA’s 25 participating companies are leaders in their industry. They are managing and measuring food waste with an eye toward improved efficiency, increased donation to those in need, and looking beyond our traditional partners for new, innovative collaborations that will affect change.

(FT): What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face in achieving your organization's goals?

(MS): Infrastructure remains a major challenge. Sometimes, there simply is no viable alternative to a landfill that makes environmental and economic sense when you’re dealing with food waste. To address this challenge, the FWRA is advocating policies that increase infrastructure options for beneficial landfill alternatives nationwide.

(FT): Who is your food hero and why?

(MS): My food hero is the plant, store, or restaurant manager who works to donate as much food as possible to their local food bank. These partnerships have resulted in some of the most creative solutions to getting food to those in need in communities around the country, and with a positive environmental impact as well.

(FT): In 140 characters or less what is the most important thing we can all do to help change the food system?

(MS): A sustainable food system depends on all of us. Working together as consumers, businesses, & NGOs we can reduce waste and drive innovation.

The event is SOLD OUT, but interested participants can sign up for the live-stream HERE. Or JOIN US for dinner and a reception to celebrate Food Tank's two-year anniversary on January 21st at 5:30pm EST. This event will also sell out fast, REGISTER NOW.