Did you know 40 percent of food produced in the United States is never eaten? The average American household wastes $1,500 on food waste per year. Nashville Mayor, Megan Barry, recruited some help from local restaurant owners to lend a hand with her Food Saver Challenge, which combats the city’s food waste problem.
Jeremy Barlow, manager of Sloco, a sandwich shop in the 12th South neighborhood of Nashville, is helping fight food waste. “Sloco’s overall goal is to be a leader in driving food systems change,” said Barlow. “By eliminating food waste as well as the remaining trash through recycling, we can affect climate change, community budgets, pollution, hunger, socialization, fossil fuel depletion and the list goes on.”
Barlow opened Sloco in 2011 with the vision to basically be a waste free restaurant. Before opening Sloco, he established a full recycling and composting program by working with farmers and waste facilities, and eliminating 95 percent of restaurant waste.
Sloco takes no short cuts in being a no-waste facility, even down to the compostable products meals are served on to the reused jars that are used as water glasses.
Barlow shared a few tips on how readers at home can help the cause. He said, “Don’t worry about the date on the package, don’t over buy or over order, learn how to freeze items, can or put up stuff you can’t get too, start a compost program in your yard and most importantly, be conscientious about what you buy, who you buy it from, and what you do with it.”
Save those bruised apples! Barlow said the biggest challenge is just a change of habit. “We expect big portions, big plates and don’t want to pay accordingly. If food cost what it should cost, another discussion, the excess would definitely start to fix itself, but for now we have to live the change. On the same note, we need to relish the ugly food. Just because it has a bruise or doesn’t look like the marketing picture doesn’t mean it needs to be tossed,” explained Barlow.
The CPT commends Sloco and their sustainable efforts, inspiring local Nashvillians and restaurant owners. If you have a Good News story, email email@example.com.
— Ashley Metivier
Activities Coordinator, NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT)