Calls to Action

NOTE:  Food Waste Weekend will take place September 21-23, 2018. Please sign up to receive updates.

To All Clergy,

Thank you for participating in Food Waste Weekend!

In order to keep the Food Waste Weekend momentum going, we’ve compiled some actions for you to share as part of your sermon. These ‘Calls to Action’ are easy for your busy congregants to integrate into their lives. We will continue to add more to this list, so please sign up for the latest updates!

We encourage you and your congregants to choose from a few ‘Calls to Action’ and make a commitment for one month. See what a difference it makes! Each of these actions can have a huge impact, especially when shared with friends, family, and the community.

First, though, we have a few Clergy-only ‘Calls to Action’. We would appreciate if you picked one of these, but of course we encourage you to choose all three!

  1. If you have a food pantry, please make sure it is registered with  Click here to see if your food pantry is signed up to accept fresh food.  If it isn’t, print this flier and give it to the food pantry manager. You might want to remind them that it is totally free.
  2. During Food Waste Weekend, please open the conversation about food donation. If you know congregants who have home gardens, speak with them. Learn if they have extra produce during the summers, and what they do with it. Encourage them to donate to hungry people directly, or your house of worship’s food pantry, or another pantry nearby.
  3. During Food Waste Weekend, share the food donation message in a sermon. We’ve provided sample templates under the “sermons” for six different religions. We hope this will help you to learn more about the issue and how you can open the conversation with your congregants.

Note: Some Calls to Action have links to other sites. Short links like are included in the text while longer links links like our Twitter Feed  are followed by (Link 1). Go to the bottom of each call to action to see the long URL. This is helpful if your Call to Action is distributed on paper or in your newsletter.

Thanks so much!
The Food Waste Weekend Team

Call to Action #1

Wasted Food Log

What: Keep a wasted food log for a week.
Why: We don’t realize how much food we throw away. Keeping track for a week helps to understand how the little bits add up.
How: Keep a small pad in your kitchen near the trash, or use a notepad app on your phone
Record what you didn’t eat, why you didn’t consume it, and about how much it cost (or see the example at here (Link 1) if you want to add lots more detail!).
Time:  Only a moment or two at the end of each meal prep, or every time you throw away some food. Add a few minutes more at the end of week to review it all.



Call to Action #2

Fruit and Veggie Storage

What: Learn how to store produce for maximum shelf life! Pick one thing you buy often and learn how to make it go farther!

Why: Some foods last much longer than we think – under the right conditions.

How: Some quick changes:

  1. Revive wilted celery with a 10-15 minute ice water soak
  2. Take bananas out of plastic bags
  3. Store apples in the fridge
  4. Green peppers last longer than any other color
  5. Put veggies at eye level in the fridge, not hidden away in drawers
  6. Go to for lots more information!


Time: It might take a bit to remember, but once it becomes habit, it’ll be second nature and you’ll see how much farther your money will go!

Call to Action #3

Donate Home Garden Produce

What: Donate your surplus garden produce to a nearby food pantry.

How: Go to to find your nearest food pantry (it just might actually be in your own house of worship!)  and find out when to deliver your surplus garden bounty! If you do not have a garden, but know someone who does, you can really help by telling them about

You can also help other gardeners in your community learn about donating food by posting the flier at all over your community – especially at garden centers and the bulletin board at your supermarket.  We also have fliers you can post near a community garden at

Lastly, maybe you know of a food pantry in your community that is not yet on  Please print the flier at and give it to the food pantry manager. You might want to remind them that it is totally free.

Why: Because two problems – food waste and hunger – coexist in every community. Gardeners in America grow 11 billion more pounds of food than they can use, while nearby food pantries almost never have healthy fresh food. You and can fix that. Once you find a pantry at, you will see which days and times they prefer to receive produce donations.  Harvest your excess food just before you take to the food pantry so that it will be super fresh and will benefit everyone as much as possible!

Time: Just the short drive to a nearby food pantry. If you choose to print and post some of the fliers, add a another 20 or 30 minutes.

Please email a photo of the food you donated, to


Call to Action #4:

Learn and get involved!

What: Many different aspects of this problem present many opportunities to learn and get involved.

Why: From our own community or backyard gardens, to the supermarket, restaurants, food courts, and cafeterias, food gets thrown away all along the way. There are many ways to get involved, from signing an online petition, to making the Food Waste Weekend pledge, to calling your supermarket.


  1. Start with this video (Link 1) from global food waste expert Tristram Stuart.
  2. Check out US food waste expert Jonathan Bloom’s blog. (Link 2)
  3. Read NRDC Staff Scientist Dana Gunders’ book (Link 3) full of tips for busy folks.
  4. Learn about the economics of food waste reduction in the USA through a recent initiative at
  5. Check out the new Ad Council’s which aims to eliminate food waste the same way it tackled littering. They made a short, super-helpful video!
  6. Follow the Huffington Post’s new investigative series (Link 5) on food waste.
  7. Demand change through petitions! Reach out to your Congressional represenatives today.
  8. Follow at,, www.Instagram/AmpleHarvest, or read our blog at
  9. Learn what the US Department of Agriculture (Link 7) and Environmental Protection Agency (Link 8) are doing about the issue.
  10. Call your Representative (Link 9) and demand they vote for the Food Recovery Act. (Link 10)

Time: Again, the sky’s the limit!





Call to Action #5

Expiration Date Deep Dive

What: Learn about those confusing expiration dates you see on food products.

Why: Did you know that most “expiration” dates are really just suggestions of peak freshness developed by food manufacturers? Did you know that the only (Link 1) federally-mandated expiration date label is for baby formula?

How: Believe it or not, most of the food we buy will not become unsafe on the exact date listed on the bottom of the can or on the back of the box. These dates were actually invented so that manufacturers could communicate to the consumer approximately when the product would be at peak freshness or quality. These dates have nothing to do with food safety.

This topic has become very hot recently: Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic made a short video, (Link 2)  and has a ton of resources available here (Link 3). The US Department of Agriculture weighs in here (Link 4). It is such a problem, and it’s such an easy win, that two Congresspersons have even introduced (Link 5) a bill (Link 6) that proposes date labelling standardization!

Time: The sky is the limit!




Call to Action #6

Share about Food Waste

What: Talk to 4 people about wasted food this month.
How: Here are some examples:

Someone who works at the grocery store:

  1. Where does food go after it comes off the display?
    (If you’re ready to take this one step further, you can talk to your grocer about selling imperfect produce – learn more at

Someone who works at your favorite restaurant:

  1. Do you have doggie bags for my leftovers?
  2. How many people take leftovers home?
  3. Do you donate unsold, prepared food?

A family member or friend: 

  1. Have you seen or heard about this food waste issue?
  2. At the next holiday/gathering/party, let’s try to (pick one):
    1. Only buy the amount of food we’ll need
    2. Provide everyone with Tupperware to take leftovers home
    3. Try out a recipe that will use up any extra food purchased for event

Another parent at Day Care, school, or any child activity:

  1. I wonder what they do with leftover food from lunch/snacktime.
  2. If it is still packaged, could it be donated?

Someone who works at your child’s school or Day Care:

  1. Do you throw away a lot of food?
  2. Why do you have to do this?
  3. What would you need to have changed in order to not have to throw away all the food?

Why:   Awareness is a big issue – and everyone feels bad about throwing away food. Talking about it with others helps bring awareness. Businesses won’t make change unless their customers demand it.
Time:  A few extra conversations while taking care of daily tasks.

Call to Action #7

Smaller Plates and Portion Sizes

What: Serve smaller portion sizes for dinner. Make the same amount of food, of course, but give out smaller portion sizes, and tell your family that everyone should get seconds or thirds if they are still hungry.

Or, try just one meal on smaller plates – you’ll be amazed at how much food is saved! If the plate is smaller, less food fits on it, so again, if your family is still hungry after the first serving, they should get seconds and thirds.

Why: Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, right? And when that happens, we either eat too much, or throw away food for no good reason. These two strategies address that issue, and result in our families eating less food and being healthier. This also means that if less food is put onto plates, more food can go in the fridge for leftovers.

How: This sounds easy, but it may be one of the hardest actions to take on. It’s difficult to change when our behaviors are so ingrained. Don’t stop trying if you forget once or twice or three times!

Time: Will definitely take a moment when preparing a meal to remember smaller portion sizes or to grab those smaller plates. But once it becomes habit, you’ll see what a huge difference it makes!


Call to Action #8

Shopping Only From a Grocery List  

What: Make a quick list of what you need from the store. Vow to stick to it!

Why: We are all familiar with that “refrigerator guilt” we feel upon opening up the fridge and finding three half-eaten bags of carrots and a wilted eggplant rotting in the back.

When we make a list and stick to it, we waste less food. Here’s why: While we’re at the store, we have great ambitions about trying out new recipes and foods. At the store, we completely ignore our extremely busy schedules, our packed work days, and our demanding family commitments.  Apparently, we are all “aspirational” shoppers – we see things in the store that look great, and we naturally want to take them home and cook them. But the second we get that eggplant home, life happens, and the eggplant gets pushed to the back of the fridge. How can we stop this (Link 1) ? By simply not buying those items to begin with.

How: Save money! Eliminate the guilt! Don’t buy it to begin with! In the store, just walk on by, head held high, knowing that that vegetable isn’t going to die a slow, lonely death in your fridge.

Time: None! In fact, this action saves you the time of buying the produce, carrying it to your home, and unloading it into your fridge.



Call to Action #9

Donate Your Food When You Move

What: People throw away a lot of “stuff” when they move: clothes, furniture, and even perfectly good food. Move For Hunger is a non-profit organization that works with more than 750 moving companies across the United States and Canada to collect unopened, non-perishable food from people who are moving and deliver it to local food banks.

Why: Forty-million Americans move every single year – imagine if they all threw away just one can of soup or box of cereal. Food banks face their greatest need during the summer months, which also happens to be the time of year that most people move. Rescuing food during the relocation process is a great way to help keep the shelves stocked during the hungriest time of year (Link 1).

How: It’s easy! Visit the Find A Mover (Link 2) map to book your next move with a socially-responsible moving company near you. The crew will offer to pack up any non-perishable food that you don’t want to bring with you (or that you can spare to help someone in need) and deliver it to the local food bank/pantry. Check out the video (Link 3) to learn more about how the program works.

Time: None!  The moving company does it all!




Regardless of which calls to action you select for your congregation, please add the below text to them:

Once you pick a Call to Action:

  1. Make it impactful:  It doesn’t matter if you skip one day or week, just try again! We eat every day, so there’s always another chance to make a difference!
  2. Make it permanent: Learn more at
  3. Make it viral. Share with your friends and family under #FoodWasteWeekend
  4. Make it final:  Make a commitment to try one for a month. Reward yourself for starting down the journey to less wasted food!