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Feed people, not landfills – that’s the key result of Jodi Leamon’s outstanding efforts since 2016. As Sustainability Coordinator at Allen County’s Department of Environmental Management, she is the primary hub connecting people and organizations which are creating new pathways and sustaining efforts to reduce food waste.
Jodi Leamon and her team were determined to tackle this issue when a 2016 EPA report stated that 40% of food produced in the U.S. ends up being wasted. Much of that waste goes into landfills, creating unnecessary amounts of methane gas. At the same time, Leamon saw food insecurity issues clearly in her community. Seeing an opportunity to bridge that gap, she organized and led a Food Waste Summit in 2017. From that event, numerous new connections and local partnerships emerged.
In Allen County, businesses like Parkview Hospital and Pizza Hut have helped the local community become healthier and stronger. Excess food from companies like these and other partner grocery stores, catering companies, and restaurants can be quickly sent to nonprofit agencies like food pantries, homeless shelters, and street feeding projects.
How does this happen as seamlessly as it does? Leamon points to the new Food Rescue US app as the crucial tool. Allen County seems to be the only locality in Indiana where this app is in use. She encourages other communities to build partnerships and leverage the power of this app to more easily reduce food waste and hunger in other places in the Hoosier State.
When asked what individuals can do, besides building a similar food rescue coalition in their own area, Leamon noted that most food waste comes from residential homes. She encourages everyone to measure food waste at home, consider composting options, and learn about food waste reduction strategies.
Written by David Johnson