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901 Save the Food Challenge: Restaurant Edition

Contributed by leann Edwards, program manager—project green fork

Project Green Fork has issued a call for local restaurants: Curb your food waste through participation in the 901 Save the Food Challenge.

Did you know that up to 40% of the food supply in the U.S. is wasted, and up to 21% of Tennessee landfills are made up of wasted food?

The 901 Save the Food Challenge: Restaurant Edition aims to increase awareness of the overall impact of surplus and wasted food, offer meaningful and tangible resources for reducing food waste, and build a culture of reducing food waste with a partnership among participants.

Participating restaurants are poised to make an impact like never before. A simple three-step process is all it takes to get started saving the food!

  1. Project Green Fork partners with local restaurants to perform a snapshot food waste assessment prior to the challenge.
  2. Restaurants will hold one day of waste, and the Project Green Fork team will provide an assessment separated into edible, inedible, plate waste, compost, recycling, and landfill.
  3. Detailed reports and photographs let restaurants know how much and what types of waste they are generating and diverting.

Over the course of thirty days, participating restaurants will actively select and implement food waste reduction measures–with Project Green Fork providing insight into strategies and best practices along the way. Some of these food-saving techniques can even be implemented in your own homes–reinforcing a culture of reducing waste: 

    • Adopt new practices for food purchasing, storage, and right-sized cooking quantities to minimize waste.
    • Utilize foods that might otherwise go unused (like imperfect fruits and vegetables) and a nose-to-tail approach with animal products.
    • Offer more flexible portion sizes on some menu items.
    • Cook in small batches, or cook to order.
    • Make side dishes, bread, and bar snacks by request for your customers.
    • Compost organic waste.

At the challenge’s culmination, Project Green Fork conducts a follow-up waste assessment that offers insights into each location’s accomplishments and potential areas of growth.

Additional areas of impact save more than just food! Those who implement food waste reduction plans often save money, staff time, or materials as a result.

"Working within the Vollintine Evergreen, Evergreen, and Crosstown neighborhoods, we’ve already collaborated with seven restaurants on their initial waste assessments,” and “Using these findings, we’re providing best practices and new strategies for updating their food waste management–such as improving inventory management systems, modifying portion sizes, and implementing composting or donation programs for surplus food.”

The first round of participating restaurants includes: CafĂ© Eclectic, Crosstown Art Bar, Ecco on Overton Park, Global CafĂ©, Lucy J’s Bakery, Mad Grocer and Deli, Tonica, and Tuyen’s Asian Bistro.

bring the challenge to your neighborhood

The 901 Save the Food Challenge: Restaurant Edition might be coming to your neighborhood next! If you want to suggest a restaurant or nominate your business, connect with Project Green Fork today. Join in building a greener, more sustainable Memphis.

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