PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia announced today the receipt of two separate funding and technical assistance awards to tackle food waste across multiple sectors. The assistance will support the City as it pilots innovative strategies and lays the groundwork for several long-term food waste management programs in Philadelphia over the next two years.

Philadelphia will receive technical assistance from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as part of its Food Matters Project expansion into the MidAtlantic region and will collaborate with four other cities to pilot innovative strategies to tackle food waste locally.

The City is also the recipient of a grant issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) Projects, which will support residential and commercial food waste diversion strategies carried out by The Office of Sustainability and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. By tackling food waste using a variety of strategies, the City can reign in climate emissions, reduce municipal waste costs, and help relieve community food insecurity.

“A key element of our commitment to strengthen every neighborhood in Philadelphia is to ensure all Philadelphians can access and afford healthy food,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “It is imperative that we help our local businesses and residents reduce food waste.”

In late 2019, the City of Philadelphia collaborated with NRDC to calculate the city’s baseline level of food waste and assess the potential for increased rescue of surplus food. NRDC and the City estimate that 214,000 tons of food waste are generated in Philadelphia each year. The project additionally estimated that 21 percent of Philadelphians experience food insecurity. Moving forward, the data will inform which food waste reduction and diversion strategies Philadelphia will implement as part of the Regional Initiative. Data from this project is available by request.

The City of Philadelphia was chosen by NRDC to participate in its expansion of the Food Matters Project in the MidAtlantic region, with the goal of furthering larger‐scale change related to food waste throughout the region. Baltimore is the hub city for the regional initiative and is joined for the first time by Jersey City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. NRDC and the participating cities will collaborate to implement policies and programs to reduce municipal food waste while leveraging regional synergies.

Cities often confront similar barriers when tackling food waste, including insufficient data and resources. The initiative will include city representatives who will network with one another, with NRDC, and with local partner organizations to set goals, develop programs to achieve those goals, and identify regional strategies that help maximize their resources. NRDC will work with each city to provide technical assistance on developing food waste strategies that help bolster their broader food systems, sustainability, and climate goals.

Click here to read the press release by NRDC.

USDA announced the selection of recipients of grants and cooperative agreements through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. These are the first-ever recipients of these grants and cooperative agreements. Through Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) Projects, USDA is investing approximately $1.09 million in 13 pilot projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction.

Priority for funding was given to projects that anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits, incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to farmers, including community gardeners, integrate other food waste strategies, including food recovery efforts, and collaborate with multiple partners. The City of Philadelphia will receive funding over two years to bolster Philadelphia Parks and Recreation’s Community Compost Network; additionally, The Office of Sustainability will pilot a Food Service Business Challenge, which will provide technical assistance to 10-15 businesses citywide to implement food waste reduction strategies.

All Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project recipients:

  • Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska
  • City of Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • City of Prescott, Arizona
  • Boulder County, Colorado
  • City of New Haven, Connecticut
  • City of Gainesville, Florida
  • Lake County, Illinois
  • Douglas County, Kansas
  • City of Paterson, New Jersey
  • City of New York, New York
  • Henderson County, North Carolina
  • City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Prince William County, Virginia

Click here to read the press release by USDA.