The Get Food Smart TN initiative is a two-pronged approach to addressing food waste in Tennessee. It is part awareness campaign that seeks to engages consumers, restaurants, schools, businesses, and farmers in education and outreach centered on the prevention, recovery, and diversion of food waste. The other component of the program is a recognition program that is comprised of 4 different categories, according to a list of criteria for each category. This helps organizations distinguish themselves from others, based on their food waste reduction, recovery, and diversion efforts, and identifies innovative food waste reduction best practices being implemented across the State. Get Food Smart TN provides supporting technical assistance and educational resources to recognized categories.
How was the Project Started?
The awareness campaign and recognition program were informed by a 2016 stakeholder outreach and roundtable event, which sought to identify opportunities for the state to support community partners in reducing, recovering, and diverting food waste. A statewide recognition program was one of the recommendations that emerged from this event. Initially, TDEC attempted to piggyback the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, but due to a number of challenges associated with TDEC accessing data and tailoring the program to state needs; plus the program is largely quantitative in nature which discourages enrollment, TDEC decided to develop its own recognition program. Additionally, Objective 4 of the State’s Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan is concerned with the increased diversion of organics and this is broadly supportive of that goal.
When was the Project Started?
The program officially launched March 15, 2018.
When was the Project Completed, or is it Ongoing?
The project is ongoing.
What are the Results to Date?
Because the program is new, results are challenging to estimate at this point. We have received 15 applications by organizations interested in joining the recognition program.
What are the Resources Needed, including Time, Cost, Etc.?
We have two staff working on this campaign part-time as well as administrative staff supporting various aspects of the work. I spend about 20 percent of my time on GFS TN while another staff member spends about 50 percent of her time. The cost of the program is the percentage of our salaries as well as promotional materials that have been designed and purchased over the last several months, estimated at roughly $50,000 for staff time (including overhead) and resources/materials.
The program will recognize a Tennessee Food Smart Organization of the Year annually, with first award to be given out in February 2019.
- Matthew Taylor
- Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation – Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices
- Policy Analyst