Episode 1: Chris Hunt of ReFED

Chris Hunt of ReFED 

This is session 01 of the Wasted Food Series, and we meet Chris Hunt of ReFED: Rethinking Food Waste through Education and Data. In the US, about 40% of our food goes to waste. We learn how we can cut this in half by 2030 by following the ReFED Roadmap solutions including (1) Food Waste Preventions Solutions, (2) Food Waste Recovery Solutions and (3) Food Waste Recycling Solutions. On this show, you will hear actionable examples of each strategy.  

Chris Hunt serves as senior advisor for ReFED (Rethink Food Waste), where he supports the multi-stakeholder collaborative's efforts to reduce U.S. food waste by providing strategic input on communications, stakeholder engagement, and content development.

Before joining ReFED, Chris spent 12 years at the GRACE Communications Foundation, shaping the organization's promotion of sustainable agriculture by developing campaign strategy, building collaborative partnerships, overseeing content development, and serving as the foundation's primary spokesperson on food and agriculture issues. Previously, Chris conducted environmental economics research as an Alumni Memorial Scholar at Colgate University, served two terms on the board of directors of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, and sat on the steering committee of the Street Memorial Project.

Though he now lives in Northern California, Chris is proud to be certified as a Master Composter by the New York City Department of Sanitation.

Connect with Chris Hunt:  TwitterEcoCentric Blog




  • Formation of ReFED [07:15]
  • Key benefits of the Roadmap [07:48]

  • 3 areas identified for reducing food waste: (1) Prevention (2) Recovery (3) Recycling as it compares to Reduce/Reuse/Recycle hierarchy[8:53]

  • Americans waste $218 billion worth of food each year; food waste in the home accounts for $144 billion of the $218 billion [10:12]

  • How current date labeling practices contribute to food waste in the home  [10:30]

  • Awareness component: Even the act of measuring the amount of food wasted in the home can lead to a reduction of food waste [14:30]

  • Ad Council and NRDC Awareness Campaign “Save the Food” [15:21]

  • Tristram Stuart, Feedback and Feeding the 5000 [16:52]

  • First Feeding the 5000 in the U.S. (Oakland, CA) [17:28]

  • Gleaning is the practice of harvesting food that would otherwise be wasted on farms [18:16]

  • The greatest economic value for solving food waste is generated by prevention solutions [20:20]

  • Composting solutions provide the greatest waste diversion capacity [21:54]  

  • Chris’ experience with NYC Master composting program among network of urban gardeners [22:15]

  • Recycling solutions can divert 9.5 billion tons of food waste away from landfills every year [24:00]

  • Of the 62 million tons of food Americans throw away each year, 10 million tons of it occurs on the farm level [25:12]

  • Value-added processing. Example: Creating a market for imperfect produce and restoring its financial benefit to farmers [26:25]

  • According to data from Wasted, we currently throw away more of our fruits and vegetables (52%) than we we consume (48%) [26:35] 

  • Environmental impacts of food waste [30:50]

  • Potential global impacts of preventing and recovering food waste [31:50]

  • Roadmap to reduce our food waste by 20% over next 10 years [32:00]

  • Donation tax incentives to drive food donations by food suppliers [34:26]

  • Good Samaritan Act protecting donors [35:20]

  • Donation Matching Software companies, such as Food Cowboy, can boost food recovery and increase availability of fresh produce in food banks and food pantries [39:15]

  • What consumers can do to reduce food waste in their homes and in daily life [43:49]

Mentioned in this Episode: 

The stellar ReFED Roadmap and Website: A data-driven guide for businesses, government, funders, and nonprofits to collectively reduce food waste at scale


WASTED NRDC Written by Dana Gunners


Ad Council and NRDC campaign to “Save the Food” and Life of a Strawberry short movie


GRACE Communications Network:highlights the interconnections of food, water and energy systems, promoting sustainable and renewable solutions. 


Tristram Stuart & Feedback (UK): Putting a stop to global food waste


Salvation Farms (Vermont): Reducing Vermont’s dependency on food from afar


City Farms (NY): Unique brand of hospitality and entertainment: events


Hunts Point Produce Market (NY): Where the farmers go to market


Jose Andres (DC): Celebrity Chef and Restauranteur


Misfit Juicery (DC): This is not a juice company. Misfit reimagines the way we engage with food...


Refrained (CA): Eat beer. Sustainable supergrain


Food Cowboy: Uses mobile technology to route donated food




Toolkit for home: EPA toolkit for reducing waste in the home https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home


Toolkit for Businesses and Orgs: EPA WasteWise program to track and reduce food waste


We waste so much food that congress might do something (food labeling)


Jonathan Bloom American Wasteland http://www.wastedfood.com/

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/American-Wasteland-America-Throws-Nearly/dp/0738213640/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291169165&sr=8-1

Bloom and Gunders interview with NPR: http://www.npr.org/2012/09/21/161551772/the-ugly-truth-about-food-waste-in-america

Additional Reports: http://www.thinkeatsave.org/index.php/be-informed/reports