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Women Leading the Charge: Revolutionizing Food Systems and Fighting Food Waste

6 min read

Women are taking the lead in the global fight against food waste and the quest for sustainable food systems, pioneering innovative solutions and inspiring change at every level. From grassroots activism to corporate leadership, these remarkable individuals are driving progress and making a tangible difference in the way we produce, distribute, and consume food as well as manage food waste post-consumption. In honor of Women’s History Month 2024, let's shine a spotlight on some of the extraordinary women in our extended network who are at the forefront of this movement!

Watch this video to hear from the pictured group of four farmers in Kent, WA about their experience improving their farm yields with Chomp’s organic biofertilizer.

1. Danielle Nierenberg - President of Food Tank

As the President of Food Tank, Danielle Nierenberg is a recognized expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues. Through her work at Food Tank, an organization dedicated to highlighting solutions to the world's food challenges, Nierenberg tirelessly advocates for a more equitable and environmentally conscious food system. Her research and advocacy efforts provide a platform for amplifying the voices of farmers, policymakers, and activists working towards a more sustainable future.

Danielle Nierenberg is leading the food waste panel discussion on the far right.

The Chomp team saw Danielle in action at last year’s NYC Climate Week when she led a panel discussion on, “Our Future Depends on Reducing Food Waste” along with representatives from Mill, ReFED and Unilever.

2. Fiona Kelleher - CEO of MyGug

Fiona Kelleher, the CEO of MyGug, is pioneering innovative solutions to combat food waste. MyGug is an Irish company dedicated to reducing food waste by manufacturing treatment systems for small food businesses or schools. Kelleher's leadership exemplifies the intersection of entrepreneurship and social responsibility, demonstrating the impact of building an organization to improve the environment and local communities.

Learn more about Fiona and MyGug through this recent article, “Innovation awards finalist: MyGug digester turns food waste into renewable energy and fertiliser.” 

3. Pashon Murray - Founder of Detroit Dirt

Pashon Murray stands as a pioneering figure on the front lines of the battle against urban food waste and environmental sustainability, epitomizing leadership in this critical field. Through her visionary initiative, Detroit Dirt, Murray has not only redirected food scraps and organic waste away from landfills but has also transformed them into nutrient-rich compost, effectively closing the loop on the food production cycle. Her dedication to sustainability goes hand in hand with her commitment to fostering equitable environments. By partnering with influential entities such as General Motors, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and local breweries, Murray ensures that waste is repurposed into valuable resources. Instead of languishing in landfills, these materials are channeled into producing high-quality compost, benefiting local urban gardeners and farmers. 

Moreover, Murray's endeavors extend beyond mere waste management; they encompass community empowerment and economic development. Through collaborations with the City of Detroit, her efforts contribute to blight removal, neighborhood beautification, and the creation of long-term employment opportunities. Murray's work not only exemplifies environmental stewardship but also serves as a beacon for creating more equitable and sustainable urban landscapes.

4. Lexie Raczka - Director of Sustainability at Boston University Dining Services

As the Director of Sustainability at Boston University Dining Services, Lexie Raczka is blazing a path  to promote sustainability and reduce college campus food waste at scale. By building a comprehensive program to reduce food waste at Boston University–from more efficient menu planning, composting programs, sustainable procurement practices, and educational outreach, Raczka is empowering students and staff to make informed choices that prioritize environmental stewardship. Her work exemplifies the importance of institutional collaboration and grassroots activism in creating lasting change within communities.

You can learn more about all the programs that Lexie Raczka has started to lower food waste through this video. 

5. Shantae Johnson - Executive Director at Feed'em Freedom

Shantae Johnson is the Executive Director of Feed'em Freedom and is dedicated to addressing food insecurity and promoting food sovereignty in underserved communities. Through initiatives focused on urban agriculture, community gardening, and access to healthy food options, Johnson is empowering individuals to take control of their food systems and build resilient communities. She is also leading the project to implement one of Chomp’s anaerobic digesters to convert her community’s food waste into renewable energy and biofertilizer. Her commitment to social justice and equity underscores the transformative potential of grassroots initiatives in creating a more just and sustainable food system.

6. Dana Gunders - Executive Director of ReFED

Dana Gunders has dedicated her career to tackling the complex challenges of food waste and sustainability., As Executive Director of ReFED,a nonprofit organization committed to reducing food waste in the United States, Gunders leads efforts to identify innovative solutions, leverage data-driven insights, and mobilize stakeholders across sectors to drive systemic change. Through her advocacy, research, and thought leadership, Gunders is instrumental in shaping strategies and policies that promote a more efficient and sustainable food system. Her tireless dedication to this cause exemplifies the transformative impact that women can have in reshaping our relationship with food and the environment, inspiring others to join the movement towards a waste-free future.

7. MZ Goodman - CXO of Chomp

We can’t forget our very own CXO of Chomp! MZ has been an integral part of expanding Chomp’s impact helping communities to transform organic waste into renewable energy and biofertilizer.

In conclusion, these visionary women are driving progress and inspiring change in the fight against food waste and the quest for sustainable food systems. Their leadership, innovation, and dedication serve as powerful reminders of the transformative potential of women in shaping a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable future for all. As we continue to confront the challenges of food insecurity, environmental degradation, and social inequality, let us look to these trailblazers for inspiration and guidance on the path towards a more just and sustainable world.

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