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Food for Thought: We Throw Out Nearly 40% of Our Food in the U.S.

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Every Friday afternoon, thousands of elementary school students across the country take home a backpack filled with food provided by organizations like Feeding America. Without it, many children wouldn’t get enough to eat over the weekend.And yet, even while many families struggle to put dinner on the table, nearly 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. is thrown away—the equivalent of one pound per person every day.Brookfield Elementary School in Oakland, California, became concerned that its cafeteria was wasting food, even while many of its students were not getting enough nutrition at home. They contacted the organization Food Shift for a solution.“The school is required to provide milk for every student,” says Dana Frasz, the founder of Food Shift. “If only half the kids drink milk that day, the rest comes back to the kitchen. It’s still consumable. But the kitchen is not legally allowed to serve [those unopened cartons] again or to give it away.”But as an outside, nonprofit organization, Food Shift could redistribute that food to the students and their families. Frasz organized a team of …

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