Looking back, we are very proud of what transpired at the first ever Midwest Food Recovery Summit. With two strategic partners, U.S. EPA and BioCycle, we welcomed 130 registered attendees from both coasts of the United States and many in between (a total of 18 states were represented) as well as Washington D.C. and even Ontario, Canada for two-and-a-half days that included two keynote presentations, 18 breakout sessions, and many opportunities for networking and building the basis for further collaboration to propel food waste reduction, recycling, and recovery.
The speakers and exhibitors did a phenomenal job sharing their expertise and offering powerful insight to everyone. We also must mention the talented students from the Culinary Arts program at the Des Moines Public Schools’ Central Campus who took food scraps and competed to claim the “Most Innovative” and “Best Tasting” awards for their work. There were so many great discussions, events, and connections that made this summit a success, and it all went off without a hitch.
Earlier this year, we shared What We’re Looking Forward to at the Midwest Food Recovery Summit so we decided to flip the switch now that the summit is over. I took some time to ask the members of the planning committee what they thought the best part of the summit was and they were all thrilled with the event in its entirety, and that made it difficult to narrow it down, but here are their favorite parts.
LEADERSHIP FOR THE FUTURE
"The chance to network and meet all of the people across the Midwest who are truly interested in trying to reduce the amount of food that is wasted in this country. It was great to see the energy of the kids in the cooking competition and their great skills. The enthusiasm of the younger participants on the issues shows a lot of good leadership for the future for addressing this issue." Dan Nickey, Interim Director
Bringing Food Waste to the Forefront
"The engagement is what was awesome to me. Watching people walk out of sessions and still continuing the conversation. Seeing people out in the evening in that same conversation. That was the goal, in my mind, of the summit which was to bring food waste to the forefront and make it a part of the discussion and do it in a unique way. I think we accomplished that goal extremely well." Joe Bolick, Communications and Public Relations Manager
Sharing Data and Methodologies
"All of the networking opportunities because there were people from all over the country and Canada. So finding people who are doing similar research like what we are doing when it comes to food waste is awesome. And now, we're collaborating with these people that we did not know before and we’re doing food waste projects. We’re sharing data and sharing methodologies so that in the future we can continue to work together." Jenny Trent, Environmental Specialist
"My favorite part of the Midwest Food Recovery Summit was providing the opportunity to bring together a group of people with a common interest. It was a place where many connections were made and ideas were free-flowing. Everyone seemed to walk away with a greater understanding of the food waste issue and were motivated with new ideas and information to take back to their organizations." Jen Wittenburg, Program Manager
"There were many moments throughout the summit that made me proud of what the IWRC accomplished but overwhelmingly, it was the networking that stands out. The summit provided a place for people that may have never crossed paths to meet. I had the chance to firsthand watch attendees collaborate with each other, learn about new strategies they can use, hear from someone who has tried what they're doing about what doesn't work and overall make a new connection that they will use moving forward long after they left the summit." Lea Hensel, Communications and Marketing Coordinator
Couldn't join us at the Midwest Food Recovery Summit? You can check out pictures over on the Iowa Waste Reduction Center's Facebook page. The main album, Midwest Food Recovery Summit, has pictures of the breakout sessions, speakers, and networking that took place throughout the summit. And Saving Scraps: A Culinary Competition is all the pictures from the Thursday night event.
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Iowa Waste Reduction Center