Why Was the Dairy Community at South by Southwest?

Have you heard the stats around food waste and food insecurity in the U.S.? We throw out or fail to use about 40 percent of our food supply every year while more than 48 million are food insecure. The disconnect between the food we produce, how much food is wasted, what gets to the people facing hunger and the systems in place that prevent efficiencies, emphasizes the need for innovation. This is a challenge the dairy community is and has been committed to taking on – making the most out of the foods dairy farmers produce from farm to table and table to farm.

Recognizing that achieving this goal means fostering strong partnerships and collaboration across the food supply chain, the dairy community brought the conversation front and center at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference where four leaders in this area came together in a panel discussion to explore and share high- and low-tech solutions with potential to help reduce waste, divert food from landfills and route reclaimed food to those who need it.

Missed the panel? Here’s a look at some of the points each panelists shared:

  • Marie Audet, U.S. Dairy Farmer at Blue Spruce Farm in Vermont: "To take on food waste, we as a society must be willing to learn and evolve. We’ve changed along with society… the more we learn, the more we change."
  • Suzanne Lindsay-Walker, The Kroger Co.: "Kroger partners with Fair Oaks Farms. They use the anaerobic digester to turn cow manure and food scraps into compressed natural gas that powers the trucks that haul the milk."
  • Liz Baldridge, Feeding America: "Feeding America diverts 2.6 billion pounds of food from landfills and gives 2.1 billion meals to communities in the U.S."
  • Ashley Zanolli, Environmental Protection Agency: "We want to feed people not landfills."

By making smart choices and incorporating a few creative solutions, the dairy community is finding ways to use food for its highest purpose and move nutrients through the food system — from people, to animals and back to the land to grow more food — instead of going to waste in a landfill. Learn more about how dairy farmers honor the harvest and how the dairy community is working to raise awareness about food waste