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Denver Department of Public Health & Environment and Partners Host Tasting Event Featuring Food Most of Us Throw Away

Month-long project is third Food Waste Pilot Program; aligns with City and County of Denver climate action goals, focusing on food reduction, donation and composting

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Slow Food Denver will partner with Broadway Market restaurants tomorrow, Feb. 20, from 5-8 p.m. to showcase a tasting menu using frequently wasted ingredients. The first 50 people to arrive at the event will receive a free voucher to try four items from the sampling menu. At approximately 5:30 p.m., chefs will present their dishes and kickoff a panel discussion with representatives from NRDC, Slow Food Nations, Broadway Market and DDPHE’s Certifiably Green Denver program to discuss opportunities on reducing food waste in Denver and beyond.

This is a part of Certifiably Green Denver’s third Food Waste Pilot Program to help restaurants reduce food waste through prevention, donation and composting strategies. The two previous pilots in the Highland and South Pearl neighborhoods worked with individual restaurants in a geographical area. This pilot collaborates with all restaurant concepts in Broadway Market to study opportunities for collective food waste reduction in food halls.

The restaurant sector was chosen for this pilot because restaurants generate 25% of Denver’s food waste, the second-highest sector after households, at 41%. The program is part of the city’s visionary Food Matters project, a collaboration with the NRDC. Denver is one of only two cities—along with Baltimore—chosen by the NRDC in 2018 to come up with multiple strategies to prevent food waste, which is the third-largest generator of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We have prioritized reducing and eventually eliminating food waste as one of the most actionable solutions to climate change—and Denver is showing how to get results quickly, while also working hard to address food insecurity in the area,” says Madeline Keating, City Strategist and Food Matters City Lead for NRDC.

“Working with restaurants on this event provides an invaluable opportunity to showcase creative solutions to curb food waste because chefs already are trained to create their menus using as much of any given ingredient as possible,” says Susan Renaud, Community Engagement Administrator for DDPHE’s Certifiably Green Denver, which has been working directly with restaurants throughout the pilot program. “Chefs also are such visible and valuable contributors to our community. Their attention to food waste will help us reach a larger audience and inspire people to think about ingredients differently when cooking at home.”

The following restaurants are participating in the Broadway Market Food Waste Pilot Program: The Bar at Broadway, Broadway Gardens, Logan House Coffee Company, Maria Empanada, Misaki, Mondo Mini, Mother Tongue, Pizzeria Coperta, Royal Rooster, Tacos al Chile and Tora Ramen. The Broadway Market parent company has also been at the forefront of this endeavor.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Broadway Market on this effort,” says Renaud. “They have embraced sustainability as a core value from the time they opened a year ago. As a result, waste reduction is embedded in the culture and everyone has been gone out of their way to help us to pilot this concept.”  

Participating restaurants were provided with complimentary waste audits to identify opportunities to reduce food waste along with staff training through Certifiably Green Denver. Also, to address the problem of food insecurity created by food waste, a dedicated refrigerator was provided for restaurants to store food for donation. The Colorado-based nonprofit food recovery organization We Don’t Waste will provide free food donation pickups for participating restaurants on an on-call basis, addressing one of the crucial elements of the city’s Food Action Plan.

Broadway Market is located at 950 Broadway.