APSU part of state’s inaugural Food Waste Initiative
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APSU part of state’s inaugural Food Waste Initiative

APSU composter

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced the first group of participants in Get Food Smart TN – a statewide initiative aimed at reducing food waste. The inaugural class, which includes Austin Peay State University, was recognized on April 20, at an event hosted by former TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau and TDEC Assistant Commissioner Dr. Kendra Abkowitz Brooks at the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower in Nashville.

“The mission of Get Food Smart TN is to promote using food wisely and enhance the sustainability of Tennessee’s food resources,” Brooks said. “It’s the first of its kind for a state environmental agency and parallels TDEC’s broader mission to reduce harmful air emissions and wasted water, energy and land resources.”

Austin Peay was the only university in this first round of participants. Other participants included The Compost Fairy, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Kroger, Lupi’s Pizza Pies, Memphis Tilth, Miel restaurant, Music City Center, The Nashville Food Project, Nourish Knoxville, Prescott South Middle School and The Society of St. Andrew. Eligible entities include schools, restaurants, government entities, nonprofits, grocers, industry and agriculture. Program benefits include state recognition and technical assistance.

“As Austin Peay continues to grow, we are intentionally taking steps toward reducing our impact on the environment,” Alexandra Wills, director of the APSU Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement, said. “Our latest effort, focused on repurposing food waste that would other wise end up in a landfill has resulted in a win–win for our composting efforts, student opportunities for hands-on learning, and a new connection with TDEC.”

Efforts by other participating organizations include garden-to-table programs, composting food scraps and donating food resources to anti-hunger organizations.

“Over time we hope to expand Get Food Smart TN to include workshops and financial resources for members,” Brooks said. “Interested organizations don’t have to wait until then to participate. We encourage everyone to join us in reducing, recovering and diverting food waste wherever possible.”

TDEC will recognize one entity as the Tennessee Food Smart Organization of the Year in March 2019. For more information about Get Food Smart TN, visit http://getfoodsmarttn.com/.