The U.S. Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced an additional $25 million for expansion of food waste prevention projects. USDA said more than a third of food available to Americans is wasted each year. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The USDA Wednesday announced an additional $25 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to expand efforts to prevent and reduce U.S. food waste.
More than one-third of all available food goes uneaten in the United States, according to the USDA.
The $25 million expansion of anti-waste efforts is a joint agency initiative between USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and USDA's Office of the Chief Economist.
NIFA has committed $123.5 million across 27 projects to combat food waste since 2017.
"USDA NIFA is extensively engaged in research, Extension and educational activities to mitigate food loss and waste," said USDA's Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, in a statement. "Several NIFA grant programs focusing on this issue align with USDA's cross-cutting priorities to address the impacts of climate change, ensure food and nutrition security, strengthen rural economies, and ensure racial justice and equity."
Research published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics in 2020 found Americans waste roughly a third of food they acquire, about $240 billion worth of food each year.
A study later that year found the average American throws away $1,300 of food per year, more than was spent at the time to fill a car with gas for 12 months.
The money spent to fight food waste include efforts to directly reduce food loss and waste, to get surplus wholesome food to people in need and to develop stronger links between food producers, providers and food recovery organizations.
"The programs supported by this funding are cornerstones in NIFA's agriculture, food safety and nutrition portfolio," said NIFA Director Dr. Manjit K. Misra in a statement. "This funding will increase engagement around nutritional health from the classroom to the community, with an emphasis on reducing food loss and waste."
In February, USDA announced a $9.4 million investment in the Compost and Food Waste Reduction Program to help local and municipal governments limit waste in landfills and promote sustainable practices.