Sunday, April 17, 2016

Food Waste and Hunger Summit

On April 16-17, the University of Arkansas was pleased to host the Food Waste & Hunger Summit for Campus Kitchens. The event was attended by students and professionals from across the country, all dedicated to reducing food waste and hunger, connecting the two societal problems to create new solutions.

The Food Recovery Project

The University of Arkansas School of Law and the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law very were well represented at the Summit.

Nicole Civita, Affiliated Professor and Director of our Food Recovery Project, was one of the plenary speakers. Nicole delivered a great presentation on the current legal initiatives to reduce food waste and work toward "food conservation." Known for the excellent resources that she provides to her audiences, Nicole embedded a wealth of important information into a Prezi that she made available to all as a resource, Shaping a Federal Food Conservation Policy Agenda.  Her remarks were featured in an Arkansas Online article on the conference by Jaime Adame, Cutting Waste is Topic of Food Talk (Apr. 17, 2016).

Nicole teaches two popular courses in the LL.M. Program, Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Law & Policy, with food conservation initiatives built into both courses.  She is the author of a number of important food recovery publications including Food Recovery: A Legal Guide Federal Enhanced Tax Deduction For Food Donation: A Legal Guide (now being updated to reflect recent Congressional action); and a soon to be released guide to food waste and state livestock feeding rules.

Nicole's innovative and insightful work in food recovery has inspired many around the country to action on this important topic.

Following Nicole's presentation, Summit participants were delighted to hear from
USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Secretary Vilsack delivered a speech that connected extremely well with the student audience, as he called them to service, encouraged them to persist in their efforts to improve the world around them, and inspired them to reach out to their leaders with new ideas and perspectives.  He reflected on the many USDA initiatives during his tenure as Secretary and the focus on local, healthy food.  He also stressed the global significance of issues of hunger, food security and food waste in the context of a changing climate. Referencing a message from President Obama to the cabinet that "games are won in the final quarter," he promised to continue working on these issues until the end of his term.

It was a great day on campus.  A special shout out to Charwell's, our food service provider for healthy and delicious food served on compostable plates, with compostable silverware.  We were proud to be part of such an excellent Summit.

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