Zero Waste Tastes Great

Last Wednesday, Angie and I attended a free No Waste Cooking Class hosted by The Nashville Food Project. It was great to learn about TNFP’s mission and the work they are doing to alleviate hunger in the community. It was also nice to meet other people who share our interest in reducing food waste and being better stewards of our environment.

Making veggie scrap fritters

The menu for the class included:

Everyone got to play a role in helping prepare the meal. I grated Parmesan and Angie patted out the veggie fritters. While we worked we chatted with our neighbors around the prep table, sharing tips and stories about composting, meal planning, plant-based eating, and even minimalism. I was particularly interested to learn that Nashville is part of hOurworld. Being only vaguely familiar with time-banking, this was really fascinating to me. (Time banks allow users to share talents and services with one another without the use of money.)

Along with the delicious meal that we all shared together, The Nashville Food Project provided a lot of useful information and tips on reducing food waste. I have summarized their handout for you below (in hopes that you find it as useful as we did).

Most common examples of avoidable food waste happening in our homes:

  • “scraps” or the parts of food usually thrown away
  • discarding expired or nearly expired foods
  • discarding “ugly” foods (ie. cheese with a small spot of mold that could be cut off)

What we can do about it:

  • Start cooking differently. Use the scraps and get creative!
    • Make veggie stocks or veggie fritters out of scraps.
    • Freeze scraps until you have enough to use in your recipe.
  • Shop smarter. Only buy what you know you will use. Make a list before you leave home.
  • Designate a “use first” section of your fridge to encourage yourself (and others) to use up the items that have been in there the longest.
  • Compost what’s left.
  • Donate food to your local food pantry (or organization like TNFP).

Why you should use scraps for cooking:

  • Broccoli stems contain more calcium, iron, and vitamin C than the florets.
  • Zucchini is 95% water, making the skin the most nutritious part of the vegetable. The skin contains more fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium than the flesh.
  • Celery leaves are a great source of fiber, calcium, and vitamin E.
  • Saving stock from cooked veggies (and meats) is a great way to retain some of the vitamins and minerals that were lost during the cooking process. Cooking rice in stock makes it more nutritionally dense and flavorful.

Other cool tips:

  • Yogurt contains fewer calories and fat than traditional mayonnaise-based dipping sauces (plus yogurt has health benefits that mayonnaise doesn’t). Yogurt is high in calcium, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and contains probiotics. 1 TBSP of mayo = 94 calories, 10 grams of fat while 1 TBSP of yogurt = 18 calories, less than 1 gram of fat.
  • Adding fresh herbs to recipes is a great way to boost flavor and increase the nutritional value of meals. Sorrell, parsley, and basil are high in fiber as well as immune-boosting antioxidants like vitamins A and C.


**In case you’re wondering, like we were, the dinnerware was all recyclable or compostable.**

**To make the non-dairy peanut butter banana ice cream, simply puree 1 banana with 1 TBSP peanut (or almond) butter and freeze**

Food Waste Update

  • Wasted Food this week: 0 ounces
  • Total Wasted Food in 2018: 50 ounces
  • Rescued Food this week:   0 US pounds
  • Total Food Rescued this year:  185.69 US pounds

Keep up with our food finds in real time by viewing our Food Find Gallery.

Fun With Food Waste

On Saturday, Angie and I attended the 3rd annual Nashville VegFest. The event has come a long way since we first wove our way through a massive crowd of vegans all vying to ogle an assortment of booths at Vanderbilt University a few years ago. Come to think of it, so have we. Back then we were just as confused about what a “vegfest” was as we were about our own eating habits. We thought it was a festival celebrating vegetables. Though not entirely incorrect, VegFest actually celebrates plant-based eating (almost exclusively veganism). Though we’re not vegans, we do enjoy a mostly meat-free diet and we found the festival to be a wonderful experience.

VegFest Selfie!

Now held at the Nashville Fairgrounds, VegFest has grown tremendously in just a short time. It was still crowded but we were able to see and sample of lot of new items we’d never even heard of before – like CORE + RIND Cashew Cheese Sauce. (A funny side note – when I was trying to tell my mom about this product over the phone, she somehow heard me to say Keith Austin Cheese Sauce. Sorry CORE + RIND, but from now on, your yummy jar of goodness will always be Keith Austin Cheese Sauce at our house.)

Where there is mass sampling of food products, there’s inevitably going to be food waste. Sadly, not everything was good and not everyone liked it. Even I had a brief moment of contemplation over my No Evil Foods “pulled pork” sandwich. While it was good, it was way too big. With some cheering from Angie, I managed to finish it though (and sadly, was too full afterwards to have the gelato I was so looking forward to!).

My giant vegan “pulled pork” sandwich.

But back to the food waste…

Me, playing in the trash, as usual.

VegFest was on our calendar anyway but when an email from Beadle at Compost Nashville arrived a few weeks ago asking for volunteers to assist festival goers in sorting their trash, we jumped at the opportunity. Sure there was the added incentive of free admission, free parking, and a free t-shirt, but really, we did it for the food waste. It’s one thing to sit back and complain because festivals and community events generate huge amounts of food waste. It’s an entirely different thing to actually do something about it. This time, we got to play an active role in reducing food waste. Donning our sporty new t-shirts, emblazoned with the words: Grow Food, Not Landfills, Angie and I each manned a trash station. I can’t speak for Angie (who is super shy in public), but I had a blast talking to people and helping them sort their food scraps and recycling into the proper bins.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! I truly felt like we were making a difference that day. We were turning the goals of our 2018 Food Waste Project into actions. We were helping others fill compost bins rather than landfills – stopping waste from happening in the first place. And one day, in the not-so-distant future, a Compost Nashville customer will receive the soil from our efforts to go in their own garden. That fact alone made the experience simply awesome!

Food Waste Update

Still no access to the dumpster. I can’t say enough how glad we will be when construction is completed next door. I shudder to think of all the good food that’s gone to waste simply because we, and other rescuers, can’t get to it. 

  • Wasted Food this week: 0 ounces
  • Total Wasted Food in 2018: 50 ounces
  • Rescued Food this week:   0 US pounds
  • Total Food Rescued this year:  185.69 US pounds

Keep up with our food finds in real time by viewing our Food Find Gallery.