In Greenwich, Food Matters Challengers Announced!

Seven Greenwich businesses have been selected to participate in a new program for local food service providers – the Greenwich Food Matters Challenge, which aims to cut food waste in our community. The Challenge is organized by Waste Free Greenwich and the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), in partnership with the Office of the First Selectman, Greenwich Conservation Commission and Greenwich Sustainability Committee.

Ciprian Haidauta, Jessica Carino, and owner Robert Guerrieri of Upper Crust Bagel Company with Anna Vallente of the Center for EcoTechnology. Contributed photo
North Shutsharawan of Nit Noi. Contributed photo

The businesses participating in the 2022 Food Matters Challenge include: Greenwich Cheese Company, Little Pub, Nit Noi, Ruby & Bella’s, Something Natural, Sweet Pea’s Baking Company and Upper Crust Bagel Company. These restaurants will implement specific food-saving practices that prevent food from going to waste in the first place, rescue surplus for food insecure neighbors and recycle any remaining food scraps. In April, the participants completed an assessment of their current practices with CET and are developing a tailored action plan to carry out during the Challenge period in May and June.

Pam Ryan of Something Natural (left) meeting with Anna Vallente of the Center for EcoTechnology (right). Contributed photo

“We are impressed just how sustainably minded these seven businesses are,” said Julie DesChamps, founder of Waste Free Greenwich. “They have already implemented so many strategies to cut food waste but want to do even more for our community and the planet.”

Food-saving practices that these businesses can adopt include donating food through Food Rescue US Fairfield County, recycling food scraps using an organics hauler through Curbside Compost or Pyoor, and implementing preventative measures, like flexible portions, recipes incorporating food usually discarded or repurposing surplus foods.

The Challenge offers many benefits to local businesses and the broader community. Research shows that reducing waste in restaurants can result in significant cost savings, an average of $7 per pound of food waste prevented. Our community will increase the amount of donated food, reduce the tonnage of heavy organic waste sent to incineration and raise local awareness around food waste.

The participating businesses embrace the benefits of the program and are committed to cutting their food waste.

Logan Montalvo, general manager of  Sweet Pea’s (right) at a site visit with Anna Vallente of the Center for EcoTechnology (left)
John Samayoa of Ruby and Bella’s. Contributed photo

“By participating in this Challenge, it gives us the opportunity to review our current operating procedures and look for ways to improve our operation while decreasing waste,” said Robert Guerrieri of Upper Crust Bagel Company. “We believe the supportive community of Greenwich will appreciate our efforts to assist in making Greenwich a better place to live.”

Up to forty percent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten, and over twenty-two percent of Connecticut’s waste stream is composed of food scraps. Addressing wasted food will enable Greenwich to conserve natural resources, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and support the food insecure. The Greenwich Food Matters Challenge is an opportunity to understand the problem of food waste and explore solutions by engaging the business sector, one of the largest food waste generators in our community.

“Doing our part to minimize or eliminate food waste at Little Pub helps not only us, but the community at large,” explained Doug Grabe of Little Pub. “It sounds simple because it is. The less we waste, the
more we conserve. ‘We’ being the key word because it takes all of us.”

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