North Carolina State University Recalculates the Food Waste Equation

Every year, Americans waste 40% of our food, but the actual figure might be even larger than that. Farm-level food waste, produce that never reaches the food supply, has not been accounted for in previous calculations which leads to an estimated 20.2 billion pounds of produce that is missing from the food waste equation.

Farmers generally plant more than needed to accommodate potential disease, weather patterns, and other unexpected negative effects on their crops. However, this creates a surplus of produce that is unharvested due to timing, cost, or quality and then attributed as “farm-level loss.” Growers are not required to report these losses, and many studies on food waste only focus on post-harvest produce, ignoring farm-level loss.

North Carolina State University has developed a way to estimate why and how much produce remains in a farmer’s field. By doing so, the university can look to identify ways to harvest the remaining crops to reduce food waste, increase our food supply, and make our farms more efficient.

Read more about North Carolina State University’s work in food waste here.

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