Nashville Food Waste Initiative

Urban Green Lab’s Food Waste Initiatives highlight best practices in food waste reduction, recycling, and rescue.

In 2015, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) -- a leading national environmental organization of scientists, lawyers, economists, and other experts -- selected Nashville as its pilot city for developing high-impact local policies and on-the-ground actions to address food waste. NRDC, in partnership with Urban Green Lab, is developing local and national strategies to prevent food from going to waste, rescue surplus food, and recycle food scraps. The Nashville Food Waste Initiative (NFWI) develops and implements strategies and tools as models for cities around the country.

The NFWI’s goal is to engage governments, consumers, restaurants, community institutions, and retailers to prevent food waste, rescue surplus food to direct to hungry people, and compost and digest what’s left to help build healthy soil. Cities play a critical role in meeting America’s food waste challenge. Up to 40 percent of the food we produce in the United States goes uneaten and 95 percent of food waste is disposed in landfills. When we waste food, we also waste the water, energy, agricultural chemicals, and labor that goes into growing, storing and transporting it.

Get Involved in the Mayor's Food Saver Challenge

James Beard Food Scrap Cooking Competition

Guidelines for Donating and Handling Surplus Foods

Resources for Best Practices

Media Appearances

Recent News

Urban Green Lab Works to Prevent Food Waste at Food Distribution Sites

Urban Green Lab’s Diana Andrew was interviewed by a local news station about food assistance for Metro Nashville Public Schools students and families.

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TSU and UGL partner to create “Nashville Environmental Justice Initiative”

Urban Green Lab and Tennessee State University team up to train about equitable decision-making.

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Community Composting for Nashville Webinar September 29

Do you already compost? Want to do more or learn how to recycle food scraps? Are you affiliated with an urban farm, community garden, school, or community venue that might want to become a demonstration site or pilot a program?
Join this webinar!

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Statewide Corporate Social Responsibility Event

Chattanooga-based law office has organized and sponsored a virtual workshop on corporate social responsibility. Donations will benefit Urban Green Lab.

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Coffee and Conversations Webinar Series: Food Systems

Diana Andrew has been invited to sit on a panel for the Tennessee Department of Health’s Coffee & Conversations series on Sustainable Living and Equitable Communities in Tennessee.

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Environmental experts frustrated over reusable bag policies

Nicole Brose was interviewed by a local news station about the pandemic’s effect on the environment and changing policies surrounding reusable bags at retail stores.

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Understanding Sustainable Living – CHCA Entrepreneurial Podcast

Diana Andrew was interviewed by Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy about all things sustainable living.

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NRDC Food Matters Launches Two Regional Initiatives

The NRDC is moving to the next phase of its work to reduce food waste in cities and Nashville will be one of the two regional hubs!

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Urban Green Lab featured in Local Table Magazine

Urban Green Lab’s own Diana Andrew was selected to write an article on food waste in Local Table Magazine’s Special Green Issue this April.

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Urban Green Lab urges restaurants to donate food

Restaurants across Middle Tennessee are being forced to close their doors because of Covid-19. The Urban Green Lab doesn’t want their food to go to waste.

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