Fresh and organic vegetables at farmers market
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Fresh and organic vegetables at farmers market

June 2024 Littlefoot Newsletter

Dear Colleague,

This past week the Littlefoot party of 3 (!!!) attended the ReFED Solutions Summit in Baltimore. The highlight was Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announcing the National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics led by the EPA, USDA, and FDA. In partnership with the food industry-led Food Waste Reduction Alliance, this interagency strategy provides a pathway for implementing the commitments made by the agencies in 2018.

As founding team member of ReFED, it is so encouraging to see how this community of dedicated and passionate practitioners continues to grow. I left the Summit feeling proud of the work we have done and invigorated about all of the work still to be done. Huge kudos to the ReFED team, in particular Jackie SuggittDana GundersAlex CoariAlejandro Enamorado, and the myth, the legend, the “Godfather” of ReFED and Food Waste Solutions, Jesse Fink.

Gifts from the Littlefoot ecosystem 

Climate Philanthropy

  • Please join me this Thursday, June 20, for a food and climate philanthropy webinar in partnership with the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers.
  • Registration for Littlefoot Academy’s Climate Messaging Course is now open. Following a successful inaugural cohort this past spring with 40+ participants, we are excited to welcome in our second group of food focused nonprofits that are looking to shift their impact narrative and attract climate dollars.

Food Waste Reduction:

  • ICYMI: Check out my conversation with the Chef Ann Foundation and Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic. I’ll be continuing the conversation with the Chef Ann Foundation and, this time, the World Wildlife Fund on July 8, focusing on reducing food loss and waste in schools.
  • Littlefoot client Food Waste Reduction Alliance held a discovery session at the ReFED Summit with experts from across the food space, including retailers, trade associations, CPGs, tech innovators and solution providers, to identify the industry-led initiative’s unique value proposition.

In other news, I want to extend a warm welcome to Alessia Richli, Littlefoot Ventures’ newest Associate focused on Europe and Middle East. This marks an important next chapter for Littlefoot’s global expansion. More details on this in the fall.

Keep scrolling for Alessia’s key takeaways from her first ReFED Summit, this month’s reading list, and other transformative updates from across the food space.


Alessia’s ReFED Takeaways:

  • Solutions need to be easy, convenient, and cheap. The major driver of food waste, especially at the consumer level, is behavior. We are creatures of habit and we all know that it can be really hard to change the way we do things, especially if doing so takes extra effort on our part. That’s why we need solutions that are so simple and so convenient that they don’t require extra effort, and maybe even make our life easier than it was before. Even more important though, is that our solutions need to be affordable. In the words of Harry Tannenbaum, founder of Mill, “reducing food waste needs to make economic sense to make environmental sense”.
  • Messaging is KEY. At Littlefoot, we talk about messaging a lot (check out our Climate Messaging Mastery for Food Nonprofits), and I was inspired to see that this was one of the most common themes of the week. Within retail, messaging might need to be centered on the value of food and the idea that upcycled foods can be a treasure the same way that second-hand or vintage clothing is cool. When speaking with investors, the narrative needs to be communicated in financial terms and focus on the impact areas that matter most to the individual investor. And for consumers, we need messages disbursed through a variety of channels to nudge them towards behavior change.
  • Culture cannot be ignored if we want to achieve change. In a panel about the cultural footprint of food, Alex AskewJill ConklinJune Jo Lee, and Sian Cuffy Young discussed how important it is for food waste solutions to be informed by the cultural identity of the communities being served. Every culture has a unique relationship with food and responds in different ways. This means that a solution that works in one part of the world might completely backfire somewhere else. The same idea applies to the words and phrases we use in our messaging and communication efforts.

As always, I want to hear what is going on in your world and how I can support you.

Yours in partnership,

Recent Progress For Our Food Systems

The Biden-Harris administration released the National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics
Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, spoke at the ReFED Summit the same day that the EPA, USDA, and FDA released the National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics. This strategy is intended to be a pathway for driving progress toward the national goal of reducing the loss and waste of food by 50% by 2030, support a circular economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save households and businesses money, and build cleaner, healthier communities. Vilsack emphasized the importance of this strategy as an accountability document that will help strengthen collaboration efforts between all stakeholders.

New York’s Recent Good Food New York Bill
New York State legislature passed the Good Food New York bill, making the state a national leader in the movement for good food purchasing. The bill allows municipalities to prioritize purchasing healthy food from vendors who promote community health, local economies, worker well-being, racial equity, sustainability, animal welfare, and transparency, rather than prioritizing purchasing at the lowest cost possible.

New Health Guidelines from The World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) published a new guideline that provides recommendations for creating food environments that enable healthy dietary decisions. These guidelines suggest that taxes on unhealthy foods and subsidies for healthier options can influence consumer behavior and market dynamics, thereby encouraging the consumption of nutritious foods while discouraging unhealthy diets.

What I’m Reading

Source:  Food & Environment Reporting Network/Shutterstock

Biden-Harris Administration Announces National Strategy to Reduce Food Loss and Waste and Recycle Organics – USDA
The Biden-Harris administration has unveiled an ambitious national strategy aimed at reducing food waste across the United States, highlighting a coordinated effort to address environmental and economic impacts.

The Case Of The Missing 45 Million Gallons Of Milk – Inverse
This article highlights efforts in public schools to reduce food waste through comprehensive strategies. These initiatives not only aim to minimize environmental impact but also educate students on sustainability practices, fostering a generation of environmentally conscious individuals, which could reduce food waste by up to 325 tons, saving 4,263 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year — about as much emissions as 1,000 cars – in Georgia.

Southern SARE grant program seeks best practices on preventing food loss and waste – CAES Newswire
Researchers at the University of Georgia are pioneering novel approaches to mitigate food waste, exploring innovative technologies and practices to enhance sustainability within the food supply chain.

The rotten secret plaguing America’s grocery stores – Food & Environment Reporting Network 
Grocery stores generate massive amounts of food waste due to business practices like overstocking and strict freshness standards, but reducing this waste faces major hurdles. Despite some promising tech solutions and recovery efforts, ingrained industry practices and lack of coordination continue to enable rampant food waste from grocery retailers.

Aldi signs £750m deal with British apple grower – Retail Gazette 
According to a Retail Gazette article, Aldi has partnered with a local apple grower to combat food waste by selling “ugly” apples in stores. This initiative aims to reduce food waste by offering consumers affordable, nutritious produce that might otherwise be discarded due to cosmetic imperfections.

Transforming Infrastructure: Catalysing the Regenerative Agriculture Transition in the US Midwest – Medium
To support the transition to regenerative agriculture in the US Midwest, strategic investment is needed in “middle infrastructure” like processing facilities and distribution networks, nested within broader efforts like procurement programs and government grants to create reinforcing dynamics that make the whole agricultural system more conducive to regenerative practices.

The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra – Milk Street Radio
Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio travels the world to find the most fascinating food stories. In this podcast episode, Kimball meet with the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra on how they make their instruments out of vegetables, like carrots, leeks, and pumpkins.

Young people are moving toward climate careers. Employers need to adapt or be left behind. – Project Drawdown
There is a growing trend (and need) of young people pursuing careers in climate-related fields. In this article, Project Drawdown emphasizes how this shift is prompting employers to adapt their hiring practices and organizational strategies to align with sustainability goals.

Climate Investor Pollination Launches $150 Million VC Fund to Back Climate and Nature Solutions Startups – ESG Today
Pollination has launched a new $150 million Climate and Nature Impact Venture Fund to invest in early-stage climate and nature solutions companies, primarily in Australia, with a focus on areas like energy, clean industries, food and agriculture, carbon management, and the circular economy, led by Pollination’s investment team and backed by an investment from the Queensland Investment Corporation.

Rockefeller Foundation Announces Inaugural Cohort of Big Bets Climate Fellows – PR Newswire
The Rockefeller Foundation announced its inaugural cohort of 16 Big Bets Climate Fellows from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, and Puerto Rico who will receive support to advance bold solutions aimed at reversing the climate crisis and accelerating opportunity across Latin America and the Caribbean.

​​Brumidi Group Launches Brumidi Group Gives Back – Brumidi Group
Brumidi Group, a boutique strategic consulting firm navigating the intersection of public policy and politics to advance and protect our client’s purpose and promise, recently launched Brumidi Group Gives Back (BGGB), which will be a dedicated effort to increase impact in the communities across Brumidi Group’s footprint.

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