On behalf of New Pioneer Food Co-op, I’d like to thank The Gazette for its recent coverage on the very important issue of food waste at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
New Pi is one of the founders of Table To Table, the food rescue program highlighted in the report. Table To Table performs an essential community service by salvaging food for those in need from institutional markets, such as hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants and academia, which generate a consistent amount of packaged and perishable items.
Statistically, well over half of what is thrown away is potential fertilizer. Stunning. I teach composting for New Pioneer in the public schools. The Co-op, along with Regina High School, UI Housing and Dining and the Blue Bird Diner, divert our food and paper waste to the Iowa City Landfill where it is converted into compost instead of methane.
As my colleague, Jen Jordan, recycling coordinator of the Iowa City Landfill, always reminds me, “We need to stop burying our resources.”
Johnson County Refuse hauls for us at New Pi. Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids diverts its separated food waste with the composting company GreenRU. If Mercy can, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics can. The reasons I hear about why it can’t be done don’t wash.
It’s just the right thing to do. It’s not that prohibitive.
Let’s face the impasse. As I tell my students, “A wall is a motive to climb.” Food should either be consumed or composted, not trashed.
New Pioneer’s Soilmates
(organic garden education service for children)
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