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No Food Left Behind

Food Loss on America's Farms

An estimated 10 million tons of specialty crops grown on farms each year never gets harvested or makes it past the farm gate—about a third of what’s grown. This loss happens because of labor shortages, cosmetic imperfections, weather events and more, and it makes up about 16% of total US food loss and waste. WWF wants to know more about how this loss differs between various crops and understand the drivers. Through data-driven research and human-centered design, we hope to help overcome some of the barriers and challenges of getting more of this food to people.

We’ve partnered with universities including UC-Davis, UC-Santa Clara, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), trade associations like the Global Cold Chain Alliance—that works on keeping perishable products safe and high quality as they move from farms across the supply chain—and other companies, non-profits, farmers, systems-thinkers, and start-ups to figure out how we can make the most of what we grow. This work led to the No Food Left Behind series.

The Publications

Related Works

Several of our research partners have published additional findings that were invaluable to our work. In addition, our research has been featured in two books.

Tools for Measurement

Measurement is a priority across WWF’s Food Loss and Waste work—it’s needed to benchmark, compare, and communicate about reducing loss or waste.

WWF worked alongside partners to develop a tool for farmers to measure post-harvest loss in-field so they can more clearly see how much food they grow but, for a variety of reasons, do not harvest. Better understanding of the amount lost—product left in field, culled or not harvested—can provide growers and produce buyers with data on where and why loss is occurring within the boundaries of a farm operation.

The Food Loss metric recently underwent a public comment period and is in the process of being formally adopted as a metric by the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC).

Featured Story

Close-up of romaine lettuce© Shutterstock

One way to tackle food waste? Eat more of what we grow.

While most loss or waste of food takes place in restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, or our own kitchens, crops that go unharvested on farms are a piece of the puzzle, too.

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