International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Ken MacLean


Between 33 and 40 percent of food produced is wasted while one quarter of the population of the United States and the European Union is food insecure (Gunders, 2012, p. 4). How is this problem addressed through policy in the United States and the European Union? Although there are non-governmental organizations working to redistribute food and educate consumers, a more comprehensive policy-based approach is needed to fully address this problem. Several cities and states in both the U.S. and E.U. have adopted policies before they were nationally or internationally implemented. These early adopter cases were examined here to determine best practices and found there is enough of an early majority to influence broader policy development. This paper also investigated if there are similarities or differences in the way that municipalities, states/countries, and overarching national/international governments approach the problem of wasted food with policies. This was examined through the lens of political economy in the context of food supply chains and labor. This lens explores the relationship actors in the supply chain have towards each other as producers, wholesalers, and retailers, the consumers, the environment, and how these relationships perpetuate wasted food. By using this lens, it is possible to move beyond the simplified explanation of overconsumption as the main cause of wasted food.



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