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The City of Madison has been selected as a Great Lakes Cohort participant in the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) Food Matters Regional Initiative. Since 2016, as part of the Food Matters project, NRDC has partnered with cities to achieve meaningful reductions in food waste through policies and programs that reducing the amount of food thrown out and by recycling food scraps.

This is the third cohort of the NRDC Food Matters Regional Initiative. The other communities in the Great Lakes cohort include Chicago, Cincinnati, Make Food Not Waste in Detroit, and the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio for Franklin County. As a participant, the City of Madison can connect with other City representatives, with NRDC, and with local partner organizations to set goals and develop programs to achieve those goals.

“The City of Madison is committed to advancing a healthy and equitable food system,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “Participating in the Food Matters cohort will help us advance our sustainability, racial equity, and healthy community goals.”

The City collects approximately 10,000 tons of food scraps annually, and food waste comprises over 20% of the waste streams entering the Dane County Landfill. Reducing food waste not only increases the lifetime of the Dane County Landfill, but also offers the opportunity to produce compost and renewable natural gas (RNG).

“The City’s participation in this cohort will increase awareness on wasted food and how we can reduce, recover and recycle this valuable resource,” said Stacie Reece, City of Madison sustainability program coordinator. “This will also address methane emissions which are 25 times more efficient at trapping radiation than CO2.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity. We’ve been working on food waste issues like composting for several years now,” said Bryan Johnson, City Recycling Coordinator/Streets Division Public Information Officer. “With the NRDC’s help, hopefully we can move even closer to solving this problem for our community and fulfill our food system and composting goals.”

The City’s Sustainable Madison Committee is launching a Zero Waste working group to align the projects of the NRDC Food Matters Initiative within the community.