"Still life on composter" by allispossible.org.uk is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

New Database of Federal Grants for Food Waste

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ReFED and NRDC partnered to create a database of federal grants that could be used to fund food waste reduction work.

Approximately 38% of food in our country goes unsold or uneaten, and most of this ends up as waste in landfills or incinerators. The good news is there are many waste reduction solutions that span the food supply chain. The catch is that making many of these changes will take investment. ReFED’s analysis shows that an annual investment of $18 billion can reduce food waste across the food system by more than 21 million tons each year and generate $78 billion in annual net financial benefit. Capital from public, private, and philanthropic sources is needed. The federal government has long funded food loss and waste solutions, and over the past year it has made unprecedented investments in the space. To help potential applicants find and understand these crucial federal grant opportunities, ReFED and NRDC partnered to create a database of grants that could be used to fund food waste reduction work.

Waste is largely handled at the local level in our country, so funding from the federal government helps support states and municipalities create or expand infrastructure and education to manage their waste streams more sustainably. Strategic approaches to address food waste span several sectors, and therefore, federal agencies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all cover different parts of the food supply chain, and each can be a source of funding or provide other resources to states, tribes, and local governments.

For example, USDA’s Compost and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements specifically fund food waste reduction projects. Over the past three years, this grant program has funded over 75 projects. Additionally, two EPA grant programs, the Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grants and the Recycling Education and Outreach Grants, provided $44 million to support 33 projects to prevent and recycle wasted food in 2023.

It can be hard to track and find grants and funding from different federal agencies, so our new federal grants database offers a centralized list of all grants from across the federal government that could potentially fund food waste reduction projects. The database has a row for each relevant grant that includes a description, eligibility, and link to the grant on the federal government’s website. Our goal is to accelerate progress towards our national goal and ensure that good food makes it to people’s plates. If you know of a federal grant opportunity that is not listed in the database please let us know by emailing grantsdatabase@refed.com.

Originally published on NRDC.org blog.

By Nina Sevilla, Program Advocate, Food Waste & Food Systems, People & Communities Program

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