Food and Waste Reduction

by Erik Makinson

This article originally appeared in the Washington State Department of Ecology's newsletter. The content has been modified slightly for this format. 
We all need to work together to use food well. Organizations like Resource Synergy, a Spokane-based sustainability consultancy, work across the state to bring partners together and advance the statewide food waste reduction goals.

Resource Synergy recently helped Salish Lodge, owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe and operated by Columbia Hospitality, to implement a composting program to divert food waste. The work began with placing collection bins at every food prep station and training kitchen staff on efficiently separating food scraps. This made it just as easy for kitchen staff to put their food scraps in the food collection bin as it would have been to toss them in the garbage bin. They then enlisted the support of Cedar Grove to haul the material off-site and transform it into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

So far, Salish lodge has diverted over 7.5 tons of food waste every month and has cut its trash by 45-48%! This has delivered both environmental and financial value to the organization. Salish is working to ‘close the loop’ by procuring ingredients from farms that utilize Cedar Grove compost.

On the other side of the state, Resource Synergy helped the Kalispel Tribe of Indians create a Food-to-Pigs, Pigs-to-Food program to exemplify a regenerative, closed-loop food system. Using food scraps from the Kalispel Casino, the Ramstead Ranch (a regenerative farm near Ione, WA) successfully raised a herd of 12 pigs. The tribe then purchases this premium local pork for use in their restaurants.