Michigan State University to host ‘Our Table’ discussion on food waste

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Jonathan Bloom

Jonathan Bloom

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Food waste will be the topic of discussion as Michigan State University (MSU) hosts its second “Our Table” event on Wednesday, March 21.

“Our Table” is a series of public roundtable discussions in which MSU brings together food experts, agricultural producers, health professionals and community members to listen to each other and foster dialogue. It is part of Food@MSU, a campus-wide initiative led by the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Letters, and Communication Arts and Sciences that aims to help consumers make more informed decisions about food, and its impacts on health and the planet.

The public is invited to attend this free event that will take place at the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center, 468 Green Way, East Lansing, MI 48824. Tours of the facility begin at 3:30 p.m. with the panel discussion taking place from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)” will be part of the panel. His visit is sponsored in part by the Center for Regional Food Systems.

“Wasted food is a major problem with ethical, environmental and economic consequences, but it sure doesn't have to be,” Bloom said. “With a little awareness and effort, America can kick its food waste habit. If we all pledge to treat food like the precious, energy-dense commodity it is, we can dramatically curtail how much of it we squander.”

Other panelists include:

MSU’s Kellogg Catering will provide a unique menu of light appetizers and refreshments made using food that typically goes to waste. Any food waste generated during the event will be sent to local landscape supplier Hammond Farms to be turned into compost through Live Green Lansing’s Scraps to Soil program.

Panelists will sit at a wooden table made from fallen MSU campus trees crafted for this initiative. It was created by artist Nathan Shaver who works with MSU Shadows, part of the Department of Forestry. The table seats up to eight and features an inlay of the MSU Spartan helmet logo in the middle.

Sheril Kirshenbaum, a science communicator and author of “Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future,” is the moderator for “Our Table” conversations. Kirshenbaum is passionate about food and works at the intersection of science and people.

“In the U.S., we waste nearly half of the food produced, accounting for about 31 million tons of food every year,” Kirshenbaum said. “Addressing this enormous challenge is a priority for ‘Our Table’ because better practices will improve food access for struggling communities while conserving energy and water and reducing carbon emissions.”

Kirshenbaum was also instrumental in launching the MSU Food Literacy and Engagement Poll in July 2017.

Those interested in attending the March 21 event are encouraged to register online at events.anr.msu.edu/ourtable.

To learn more about Food@MSU and the “Our Table” events, visit food.msu.edu.