New Iowa City program to educate residents on eliminating food waste

The program will educate residents on how they can eliminate food waste. The “Love Food, Fight Waste” program will be in collaboration with Table to Table, an organization that strives to keep edible food from going into landfills.


Gabby Drees

Photo illustration.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

Tackling food waste is the City of Iowa City’s goal with the new “Love Food, Fight Waste” program.

The program will educate community members on how to reduce food waste by showing the impact food that goes into a landfill has on the environment, said Jennifer Jordan, resource management superintendent for Iowa City.

Through videos, blog posts, and hands-on activities, the city will teach residents how to eliminate food waste and implement food conservation habits.

“The main thing is helping people understand that we at our homes have an impact on what’s going into the landfill,” Jordan said.

Iowa City Resource Management will work in collaboration with Table to Table, an organization that works to keep edible food from going into landfills.

“We are working on a couple of projects with Table to Table and this seemed like a natural connection with them as far as reaching out to their customers and then just general to the folks that they serve and then just to the general Iowa City customers,” Jordan said.

“Love Food, Fight Waste” will be available to Iowa City residents for three months, but Jordan sees it going past the current time frame.

“Table to Table and the City of Iowa City together have created the Love Food, Fight Waste program to empower and educate community members to reduce food waste in their daily lives. This program is free to participate in and will feature a new topic each month,” Jane Wilch, City of Iowa City recycling coordinator, wrote in a press release announcing the program.

Specifically, the program hopes to teach habits that will limit over-purchasing food, said Anne Langebartels, communications and development coordinator for Table to Table.

She said the goal of the program is to help residents reduce food waste in a different way each month.

“Whether that’s by shopping smarter at the grocery store, whether that’s by planning their meals ahead of time, finding creative ways to use leftover food that is close to going bad but isn’t bad yet. Or composting even once that food has gotten too bad. teaching people how to compost,” Langebartels said.

The program currently has three monthly topics laid out to help educate residents on eliminating large amounts of food waste:

  • May: Know Your Best By, Use By, & Sell By Dates
  • June: Understand the Types of Food Waste
  • July: Buy the Right Amount of Food

“Each month is a different topic that we focus on and includes information through a blog post and an email that I send out to people on the city’s email list,” Langebartels said. “And then it includes an activity that people can implement in their own life.”

Nicki Ross, Table to Table’s executive director, said the organization reached out to Iowa City 18 months ago, knowing that the city staff’s views on food waste and combating food waste as an important topic.

“Obviously we’re pretty much the food waste experts in our community and they’re experts on wanting to keep things out of the waste trade,” Ross said. “And so it really seemed like a really good partnership to trail.”

Ross said she hopes the program can teach residents to view how long food is good for differently than how they currently do.

“What’s important to me is that we normalize the idea… behind how long food is good for and what’s good quality food to eat,” Ross said.