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School Food Recovery Act Reintroduced 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The School Recovery Act was recently introduced to direct the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide competitive grants to support schools working on food waste reduction programs. The bipartisan bill was introduced by Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and cosponsored by Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Jahana Haynes (D-CT), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Ed Case (D-HI), Kim Schrier (D-WA), and Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-GA). 

“Reducing food waste in schools will give students the opportunity to develop responsible habits that can benefit their communities and our planet throughout their lives,” said Bonamici in a press release. “I’m pleased to introduce the bipartisan School Food Recovery Act with Reps. Pingree and Newhouse so schools will have the support and resources they need to engage in important food waste reduction programs.”

Through this act, a new program at USDA would provide grants to schools to work on reducing food waste. To be eligible, schools much participate in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program. The funding would be allocated towards capacity-building and implementation of food waste measurement and reduction systems in schools. The grant would not exceed over 75% of the total cost of the program. 

“An estimated 530,000 tons of food is wasted in American schools each year, costing us as much as $1.7 billion and emitting almost 2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. Rather than ending up in landfills, these meals should be feeding our students,” said Pingree. “The K-12 education system offers a great opportunity to work collaboratively with creative educators, school nutrition professionals, and students to both reduce food waste in schools and build lifelong habits that will reduce food loss and waste. With these grants, schools could purchase new equipment, provide trainings for staff, or create food recovery programs in their cafeterias. I’m proud to introduce this bill alongside Reps. Newhouse and Bonamici to promote innovation and curb the issue of food waste in our nation’s schools.”

H.R. 5459 is supported by various organizations such as The World Wildlife Foundation, the National Resources Defense Council, ReFED, and the Harvard Food Law Policy Center. Read the bill here