EcoNutrition Cafe Series Offers Insights on Combating Food Waste

Office of Food and Nutrition Security to host events on nutrition policy, sustainability

Christopher Wharton will discuss ‘Lifestyle Behavior Change to Reduce Food Waste’ at 5:30 p.m. March 4 in Garland Annex, Room 102, to kick off the ecoNutrition Cafe series at UM. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Office of Food and Nutrition Security in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management will host the ecoNutrition Cafe series on March 4 and April 22 at the University of Mississippi, bringing bring in experts to discuss topics at the intersection of individual and community nutrition, nutrition policy, and sustainability.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 30 percent to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is wasted. Guest lecturers will offer insights on how to tackle this national problem at individual, community and policy levels, with both meetings set for 5:30 p.m. in Garland Annex, Room 102.

Christopher Wharton, associate professor and senior sustainability scientist for the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University, will present “Lifestyle Behavior Change to Reduce Food Waste” on March 4.

Angela Tagtow, senior fellow and endowed chair at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and former food and society policy fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, will present “Food Systems, Sustainability and Policy” on Earth Day, April 22.

“In order to reduce food waste, we will all have to work together,” said David H. Holben, a nutrition professor and director of the Office of Food and Nutrition Security who developed the ecoNutrition Cafe.

“Reducing food waste and developing policies at the local, state and national levels is vital to improve sustainability of the food system, and our speakers are nationally known experts on these topics. Having the funds for the series is meant to inspire new ideas to improve our food system.”

Angela Tagtow will present ‘Food Systems, Sustainability and Policy’ on Earth Day, April 22. Submitted photo

The ecoNutrition Cafe Series is funded by the UM Office of Sustainability’s Green Fund, which is a grant designed to uplift sustainability related projects developed by UM students, staff and faculty.

“One main goal is education,” said Lindsey Abernathy, associate director of the Office of Sustainability and chair of the UM Green Fund Committee. “The topics of the ecoNutrition Cafe series, which include food policy and food waste, are important issues when discussing sustainable food systems. The Green Fund Committee felt this project clearly supported that educational goal.”

The Green Fund was created in 2013 through efforts led by Ole Miss students and has funded projects that focus on a variety of topics, including the UM Compost Program. So far the program has saved nearly 100,000 pounds of food waste from local landfills. Any student, faculty or staff member can apply for funding related to sustainability efforts through the Green Fund.

“Food waste is an important topic for multiple reasons,” Abernathy said. “There are many people globally and locally who do not have access to food or enough nutritious food. Mississippi, in particular, has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the nation.”

For more information about the event, email Holben at For assistance related to a disability, contact Lolita Gregory at or 662-915-3104.