MDE Hosts Maryland Food Recovery Summit

Several hundred stakeholders attended the Maryland Food Recovery Summit on November 30. The Summit was hosted by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and focused on preventing food waste, diverting unused food to needy people, and food recycling options. MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp was among the local government attendees. maryland-food-recovery-summit-1

From an MDE Media Advisory (2016-11-29) about the event:

More than 200 stakeholders – including representatives from local, state and federal governments, non-profits, the retail food industry, local schools, hospitals and environmental groups – have registered to attend the Maryland Food Recovery Summit on Wednesday.  Maryland’s first Food Recovery Summit will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders for information, discussion, networking, and goal-setting with the aim of increasing food recovery in Maryland. The program begins with a plenary session followed by presentations on topics such as Preventing Wasted Food through Source Reduction and Feeding People and Food Recycling Options. During the latter half of the afternoon attendees will split into working groups covering topics of food recycling infrastructure, source reduction and donation, and food recovery outreach. The program concludes with report outs from the workgroups and the creation of a roadmap to the next steps for food recovery and donation in Maryland.


  • Secretary Ben Grumbles, Maryland Department of the Environment (Welcoming remarks)
  • Hilary Miller, Director, Land Management Administration, Maryland Department of the Environment
  • Cheryl Coleman, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Christina Rice, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic
  • Carrie Burns, Johns Hopkins University  Center for a Livable Future
  • Maria Rose Belding, MEANS Database
  • Terry McGowan, Giant Food
  • Margaret Brown, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Evan Lutz, Hungry Harvest
  • Butch Langenfelder, Maryland Food Bank
  • Anna Lourie, Sodexo
  • Cheryl Kollin, Community Food Rescue
  • Craig  Coker, Coker Consulting
  • Isabella Lee, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  • Patrick Serfass, American Biogas Council
  • Justen Garrity, Veteran Compost
  • Brenda Platt, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
  • Gemma Evans, Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services

Marylanders produce nearly one million tons of food scraps every year, and most of this material is disposed of in landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. By reducing and recovering excess food we can save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to feed those in need.

Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles made the opening remarks. “We focused on this in part because food scraps make up over 22% of solid waste disposal in the United States,” he explained.

Noting that Maryland recycles over 43% of its municipal solid waste (exceeding the national average) but only recycles about 15% of its food waste, Grumbles stressed that food recovery needs to be part of Maryland’s zero waste policy and climate change strategy.

Useful Links

Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Website – law student driven resource that provides information on increasing access to healthy foods and reducing food waste

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Maryland Food System Map – multi-data layer map of Maryland’s showing food production, distribution, and need

The Extraordinary Life and Times of Strawberry YouTube Video – short and clever video highlighting food waste

Matching Excess And Need for Stability (MEANS) Database Website – free database to match food donations with food distributors