Lens on leadership: With Massachusetts Legislators

September 22, 2021 Updated: January 23, 2024

Elected officials play an important role in furthering policies focused on both immediate and long-term solutions to issues like food waste, food insecurity, and climate change. Hear from Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA, 2nd District) and Hannah Kane (R-11th Worcester District) about what they’re working on now.

U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern

What legislation that you’re working on should anyone who cares about wasted food and its impact on people and planet be paying attention to now?

“I’m getting ready to introduce a bill requiring the White House to hold a conference on food, nutrition, hunger, and health. The last White House conference on hunger was held the same year we put a man on the moon, and it led to landmark legislation that actually prevented hunger and reduced food insecurity. Today, we have the food, the ability, and the resources to feed every single person in this country. We know that reducing wasted food is a big part of the solution. Imagine what we could accomplish by bringing together the heads of food banks, hospitals, companies, government agencies, educators, and people with lived experiences to develop a plan to end hunger in America once and for all. Our nationwide movement to build support for this conference is growing, and I’m hopeful that this bill will be the next step in charting a path toward a hunger-free future for everyone in this country.”

What actions do you personally take to waste less?

“Personally, I cut down on food waste by heading to the store with a shopping list for the week, buying only what I need, and doing my best to freeze extras before they go bad. I also like to buy food directly from local farmers when that’s an option, and I try to choose fruits and veggies that might not be picture-perfect but taste the same, so they don’t go to waste. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and reducing food waste is a great way to prevent hunger in America!”

State Representative Hannah Kane

What legislation that you’re working on should anyone who cares about wasted food and its impact on people and planet be paying attention to now? 

“I filed two bills this session that would work to reduce food waste in the Commonwealth. H1702, An Act encouraging the donation of food to persons in need, establishes civil liability protections for individuals and businesses making direct food donations and offers a tax credit to farms to incentivize the donation of excess crops. H2327, An Act decreasing food waste by standardizing the date labeling of food, would establish two kinds of date labels and require their implementation on food products sold in the Commonwealth. This bill would mitigate widespread consumer confusion and thereby reduce food waste.”  

What actions do you personally take to waste less? 

“The importance of reducing food waste was instilled in me as a child growing up in Maine, where I developed an appreciation for the agricultural industry and the labor-intensive process of food cultivation. In my childhood home, there was a keen awareness of the value of food, the importance of not wasting food, and the role food played in our community. I’ve carried these values with me into my home life currently, where, as a working mother of three, I make a concerted effort to plan meals in advance based on everyone’s schedules for the week. I strive for our meals to be healthy and balanced, even if quick or on the go, which helps our family avoid wasting food. I also prefer to buy food locally grown and produced in support of our local food system.”

Want to learn more about the issues? Check out Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ Advocacy Priorities.

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