3 Takeaways From NYC Food Waste Fair 2017

Left to Right: Louise Bruce, Emily Burnett, Marcel Howard, Elizabeth Balkan

The NYC Department of Sanitation’s Foundation for New York’s Strongest hosted the first ever NYC Food Waste Fair on July 25th. With over 1,000 attendees, the Brooklyn Expo Center quickly became a one-stop-shop on how to prevent, recycle, and recover the more than 650,000 tons of food waste that New York City businesses throw away each year.

The NYC Food Waste Fair featured 30+ educational workshops, 70+ food waste solution exhibitors, and over 40+ thought leaders and speakers, which created the ideal atmosphere for solving the issue of food waste in New York City and beyond.

As we take the time to reflect on the success of the NYC Food Waste Fair, here are 3 major takeaways from the event:

1.       Community Engagement is Key

Without an educated and engaged community, the City will not be able to reach its goal of achieving zero waste by 2030. The NYC Food Waste Fair gave great insight into what can be achieved by creating an environment that involves collaboration between state/local government, local businesses, and the community. By bringing these different groups to the table, we can create solutions that benefit all members of society.

2.       We have the ‘Toolkit’ for success

While New York City's goal to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2030 is ambitious, the NYC Food Waste Fair showed us that all of the resources needed to achieve this goal actually do exist. The NYC Food Waste Fair brought local businesses, prominent government figures, and the public to one place to tackle the issue of food waste. By bringing these different groups together, we have recognized the ‘toolkit’ needed to successfully reach zero waste to landfills by 2030.

3.       There’s still much to be done

After a very successful event, many are wondering, “What’s next?” Although the NYC Food Waste Fair created an environment for a discussion on food waste, there is still a need for implementation. The creators of the NYC Food Waste Fair are hoping this first event was just the catalyst to an ever-expanding fight on food waste in America. Bringing all of the players together was just the first step. Next, we hope these newly created relationships will help build the foundation for a collaborative fight against food waste domestically, and internationally.  

After the Fair, we were able to speak to a few attendees about their thoughts on the first ever NYC Food Waste Fair. Here is what they had to say:

Can’t wait to see this event grow : )
Great job! Should be 2 days!!
The Fair was great!
Very good event! Most useful was violations re: recycling [workshop] and the exhibits. Very good workshops.
Awesome venue! Looking forward to next year!
Please do this next year!
Great event!
Awesome event! Please host again!
I learned a lot!
I came for the panel discussions but left with info for enrolling my NYC co-op in the Residential DSNY Compost Program! Hooray!
Very happy with the event. More of them. 1 per borough.
Great first year!
Love the panel topics and speakers!
Cooking demo and Q&A were amazing!
Great and informative initiative, looking forward to next year!