Marylhurst food systems and society student Alaina Spencer landed an internship writing for the national blog Food Tank.
In her most recent article for the publication that bills itself as “The Think Tank for Food,” Alaina writes about the impact of animal feed on global food security. She cites research that says half of all agricultural land is currently used for the production of animal feed, and estimates an additional 280 million hectares will be required to meet future demand. Our current practice – feeding animals to feed humans – is depleting natural resources, contributing to deforestation and biodiversity losses, and is responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions, she writes.
Alaina also interviews thought leaders such as Claire Cummings, the self-proclaimed “garbage guru” employed as Bon Appetit Management Company’s first-ever waste programs manager. Claire tells Alaina how she doubled Bon Appétit’s food recovery programs, developed implementation guides for launching reusable to-go container initiatives, supported the development of a new kitchen-waste-tracking system, and helped launched Imperfectly Delicious Produce, a program that has prevented more than three million pounds of produce from going to waste.
One of Alaina’s first interviews was with Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, known for spearheading improvements in public transportation, land use planning, protection of the environment and school funding. In his conversation with Food Tank, Blumenauer told Alaina about legislation he has sponsored, including The Food and Farm Act, designed to reduce spending, focus resources on the most needy, foster innovation, encourage sound conservation practices, and ensure access to healthy foods.
Alaina Spencer is a student in the M.S. in Food Systems and Society program at Marylhurst University and a communications and writing intern at Food Tank. She recently began writing on food waste news for Brighter Bites. She has worked on farms, as a line cook in the restaurant industry, and for nonprofits completing research and writing regarding food waste and cultural attitudes surrounding the food system.