The Nashville Food Waste Initiative (NFWI) develops and implements local strategies and tools to prevent food waste, rescue surplus food, and recycle food scraps on the ground in Nashville. ELI serves as Senior Strategic Advisor along with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) for the NFWI, formerly a pilot project by NRDC and now a permanent project of Urban Green Lab, a leading Nashville non-profit. During the NFWI pilot (2015-2020), ELI Senior Attorney Linda Breggin served as Project Director.
Cities play a critical role in addressing food waste challenges. For the NFWI, ELI conducts independent research projects to inform food waste strategies in Nashville, while producing models for other cities around the U.S. Research has examined barriers and opportunities with respect to stepping up surplus food rescue, bolstering food scrap recycling infrastructure, increasing private sector food scrap recycling, developing community composting projects and including food waste in climate mitigation and resilience plans. See the Publications page for the NFWI reports and other materials.
Recently, the NFWI has worked with Nashville Mayor John Cooper to issue the Mayor's Food Saver Challenge, which encourages restaurants and hospitality businesses to take steps to reduce the amount of food going to waste in Nashville. The NFWI has served on a taskforce that advised the City of Nashville on the development of its Zero Waste Solid Waste Master Plan. Additionally, Linda Breggin currently co-chairs Mayor Cooper’s Sustainability Advisory Committee (and the Waste Reduction Subcommittee) which will advise the Mayor's Office on its Climate Action Plan that will address food waste reduction.
The NFWI’s work has been covered by numerous local and national media outlets, including an episode of WXNA Radio’s All About Nashville, NRDC & Nashville Food Waste Initiative. The NFWI’s YouTube Channel features videos of key local events.
The NFWI in Media:
- Nashville Food Waste Initiative Works to Model What a City Can Do to Reduce Wasted Food, The Tennessee Conservationist (September/October 2022)
- All About Nashville: NRDC & Nashville Food Waste Initiative, WXNA (April 2022, segment begins at 22:31)
- NFWI “Waste-Not” Cooking Demo Recap, Urban Green Lab (October 2021)
- Waste Not Cooking Demo: Tennessee Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe, James Beard Foundation (October 2021)
- Mayor Cooper Issues Challenge to Restaurant Industry to Reduce Waste, Feed the Hungry, WKRN (December 2019)
- Imperfect Apples. Smushed Berries. A Cracked Egg. Want to Reduce Food Waste? Here's How, The Tennessean (June 2019)
- The Nashville Farmers' Market Helps Customers Recycle Food Waste, Nashville Scene (May 2019)
- Mayor's Food Saver Challenge Seeks to Cut Local Food Waste, Nashville Scene (February 2019)
- Analyzing Food Waste at the City Level, Waste 360 (December 2018)
- Nashville 2018: Eliminating Food Waste in Music City, WKRN (September 2018)
- Why Cities Are Working With Businesses to Fight Food Waste, Bloomberg (November 2017)
- When It Comes To Food In Nashville, It's Waste Not, Want Not, WBUR (April 2017)
- Nashville Tries to Set an Example in Food Waste Reduction, Nashville Public Radio (March 2017)
- The Hive Hour Featuring Linda Breggin, Seema Prasad, & Matthew Beadlecomb, Acme Radio Live (October 2016)