Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is offering $600,000 in grants aimed at curbing food waste as part of its plan to create a sustainable Oregon by 2050.
According to the DEQ, the state's annual food waste causes large amounts of greenhouse gases to enter the atmosphere, rivaling the amount produced by transportation, and about 40 percent of food grown or transported into the U.S. for human consumption is wasted.
In the Metro area, $100,000 is available for edible food rescue projects that get otherwise wasted food to hungry mouths, such as gleaning, food pantries and donation networks, or markets for cosmetically damaged foods.
The remaining $500,000 will go to projects statewide that focus on prevention of food waste, reducing solid waste and introducing or improving recycling and composting infrastructure. The application deadline is Sept. 15.
Normally awarded to government entities such as cities and counties, the grants now include tribes and organizations created through intergovernmental agreements, as well as public schools and universities.
"They [tribal nations] should be entitled to the same opportunity as any other government agency," said Steve Siegel, policy analyst in the materials management program.
An extra $50,000 has been set aside for a non-food-related project: reuse/repair workforce development micro-grants of up to $10,000 each. These will help small businesses and nonprofits focus on the reuse and repair of products or introducing it as a key aspect of their business.
The deadline to apply is Aug. 25.
To apply for any of the grants, go to oregon.gov/deq/mm/Pages/Grants.aspx.