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NASHVILLE FOOD WASTE INITIATIVE

The Nashville Food Waste Initiative (NFWI) drives citywide policies and strategies that reduce food waste by preventing wasted food, rescuing surplus food for those in need, and composting and recycling food scraps to build healthy soil. The NFWI was founded by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in 2015 and is a partnership between Urban Green Lab and the Environmental Law Institute.

Through the NFWI, Urban Green Lab organizes, trains, and connects diverse food waste stakeholders year-round and offers training through our divisions for how you can reduce food waste in your own institution.

Group of people look at food scraps on a farm being fed to chickens

Sustainable Food Consumption Efforts

Mural that says "Food is Beautiful. Waste Less."

Waste Less - Mural Project

Urban Green Lab, in partnership with NRDC and the Kroger Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation, is commissioning a series of murals across Nashville to celebrate the beauty of food and encourage the public to waste less. 

Graphic of a compost bin with vegetables going in

Kitchens 2 Kitchens

Nashville has a lot of wonderful restaurants, but restaurants can be a large source of food waste. Kitchens 2 Kitchens is a network of Nashville chefs helping other chefs reduce food waste in restaurant kitchens. 

Kitchens 2 Kitchens

Nashville has a lot of wonderful restaurants, but restaurants can be a large source of food waste. Kitchens 2 Kitchens is a network of Nashville chefs helping other chefs reduce food waste in restaurant kitchens. 

Graphic of a compost bin with vegetables going in
The James Beard Foundation and the Nashville Food Waste Initiative hosts a “waste-not” cooking demonstration in partnership with Mayor Cooper’s Food Saver Challenge at E. Bronson Ingram College.
Nashville chef Julia Sullivan of Henrietta Red prepares delicious dishes using ingredients typically thought of as food scraps or waste.  Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and Mayor John Cooper speak about highlighting innovative ways to incorporate food scraps into restaurant-quality cooking, this event is intended to raise awareness of the problem of food waste—and its many creative solutions as well.

Nashville Earth Day Restaurant Challenge

Leading up to Nashville Earth Day from April 12-20, select Nashville-area restaurants will showcase a prix fixe meal or menu special that incorporates elements of sustainability like organically produced, sustainably recovered, or locally sourced ingredients. Participating restaurants include 1 Kitchen Nashville, Butcher and Bee, Miel, Radical Rabbit, Smokin’ Oaks, and the Sunflower Cafe.

Previous Projects

Person dropping a perfect apple into a trashcan

Change Adds Up

We waste too much food. It's not our intention, but it is a truth we all need to face. There are many reasons we let food go to waste. However, there are many small steps that each of us can take to address this issue. By making a few small changes to how you approach food, together, we can all create change that adds up to a better Nashville.

Mayor's Food Saver Challenge

The Nashville Mayor’s Office, Metro Nashville Department of Public Works’ Solid Waste Division, and the Nashville Food Waste Initiative partnered in January 2017 to challenge area restaurants to work to reduce their food waste over a 30-day time frame by taking five steps from a menu of options.

A hand holding a misshapen carrot
A hand holding a misshapen carrot

Mayor's Food Saver Challenge

The Nashville Mayor’s Office, Metro Nashville Department of Public Works’ Solid Waste Division, and the Nashville Food Waste Initiative partnered in January 2017 to challenge area restaurants to work to reduce their food waste over a 30-day time frame by taking five steps from a menu of options.

To learn more about the Nashville Food Waste Initiative, contact Stephanie Roach at stephanie@urbangreenlab.org.

Key Successes

Developed citywide food waste policy recommendations for Metro Government

Facilitated the Nashville Earth Day Restaurant Challenge, raising awareness of sustainable dining options

Developed mural launch parties fostering community engagement and opportunities to educate about food waste and celebrate community art

Compiled and distributed five resource guides with vetted, science-based materials for those looking to educate communities on food waste, with the partnership of Environmental Law Institute

Selected accomplishments since the program started. Updated May 30, 2024.

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Murals installed around Nashville generating awareness about food waste through community art

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