As part of the ongoing national food waste reduction goal, representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spent the Martin Luther King Day of Service inviting faith-based groups to reduce, donate and compost excess food to save the planet.

Last fall the EPA and the USDA set a goal for a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030 to "cut harmful methane emissions that fuel climate change, conserve our natural resources, and protect our planet for future generations." Since then, both government agencies have put programs in place to help organizations curb food waste and to educate the government, public and private sectors about the steps they can take to help achieve that goal.

Yesterday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spent the holiday at Miriam's Kitchen and Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and announced a new EPA initiative to help faith-based groups do their part to reduce food waste, according to the Washington Examiner.

In a news release, McCarthy explained why she was calling on faith-based groups to help reach the goal.

“Faith communities exemplify caring for the well-being of all people and are leaders in being responsible stewards of our resources for current and future generations,” said McCarthy. “Reducing, donating, and composting excess food is a triple win that protects the environment, cares for the global human family, and saves organizations and Americans money.”

food-stewards-action-planEPA's Food Steward's Action Plan (Photo: EPA)

Part of this initiative involves a tool kit that will show groups the practical steps they can take to waste less food. Faith-based organizations can get this toolkit by pledging to become an EPA Food Steward. The kit offers specific ways to accomplish the action steps shown in the wheel above and help achieve the goal "to reduce wasted food and hunger."

In addition to taking these action steps, the EPA is encouraging faith-based groups to talk about the work they're doing and the importance of reducing food waste in their communities, and they'd like faith-based groups to share their stories about food waste reduction on social media by using the hashtag #FoodSteward or emailing them at epafoodsteward@epa.gov.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.