Pete Pearson works on food waste prevention and food recovery, helping businesses understand the intersection of agriculture and wildlife conservation. For almost a decade, he has been working as a change agent within various businesses and non-profits on regenerative agriculture, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Pete has led local and national sustainability programs within the retail grocery sector across 2,000 grocery stores in 37 states. He also has over 10 years of technology experience with companies including Hewlett-Packard, Accenture and Albertsons. He has worked with public schools and hospitals as an independent sustainability consultant, co-founded a non-profit focused on sustainable agriculture, and has also co-produced a documentary film on local food production. Pete currently lives in Washington DC and enjoys fly fishing, boating, and exploring the outdoors with his family.
“Finding harmony between agriculture and nature may be the most important social, economic, and ecological issue of this century. ”
In the U.S., approximately 63 million tons of food are lost or wasted each year, while one in seven Americans, including 13.1 million children, live in food insecure households.3 An estimated 40 percent of food waste in the U.S. occurs in consumer-facing businesses such as retailers, restaurants, hospitality, and institutions like schools. Through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), U.S. schools serve approximately 30 million lunches and 14.6 million breakfasts each day to eligible students, at an annual cost of about $17.8 billion federal dollars.
But how much of that federally-funded food winds up in the trash?
With so much food moving through schools each day, there is a huge opportunity to work with students, teachers, food service providers, cafeteria staff, and more, to fight waste and inspire change in both institutions and young people. Schools can use their cafeterias as classrooms and help students understand the connection between what they eat and their planet, and forge lifelong stewardship habits.
WWF is working to transform sectors where we see potential to make the biggest impact. It’s estimated that 40% of food waste happens in customer-facing businesses like restaurants, supermarkets and hotels. Hotels, which serve $35 billion dollars in catering and banquets each year in the US, are an ideal test bed to learn, iterate, drive waste reduction, and help reshape the food service industry as leaders in food waste reduction.