Ascension Saint Thomas participated in Stop Food Waste Day, an international campaign seeking to combat food waste with an annual flagship awareness day on April 27 and diverse year-round initiatives. The event comes as Ascension Saint Thomas increases its comprehensive efforts to reduce food waste with an investment in digester machines for its Midtown, West, Rutherford, and River Park campuses. Depending upon model size, digesters process between 15 and 100 pounds of food scraps per hour so that liquid soluble waste can be sent to local wastewater treatment plants.
Between 30 and 40 percent of food in our country is thrown away, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This statistic is even more alarming when considered alongside the fact that 1 in 7 Nashville residents do not consistently have enough to eat and that food waste has a huge negative impact on the planet.
Kitchens across Ascension Saint Thomas campuses will strive for zero waste on the April 27th holiday through tactics that include meticulous calculations for meal planning, adoption of the new digester machines, and use of fully recyclable eating utensils.
“Our involvement in Stop Food Waste Day is just one small part of our determination to tackle this issue,” said Lionel “Dean” Chadwick, executive chef at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital Midtown. “The values of the campaign align with our broader vision to reach a time when all uneaten food is recycled, repurposed, or somehow used in a beneficial way.”
As part of its long-term commitment to the cause, Ascension Saint Thomas is exploring ways to begin diverting uneaten prepared meals and excess ingredients to local community members in need.
Middle Tennesseans who would like to address this problem in their own homes can visit StopFoodWasteDay.com to sign the Stop Food Waste Day pledge and to join the ongoing Food Waste Warrior Challenge.