Agricultural and Resource Economics
Assistant Professor Ned Spang holds pasting tomatoes that have been left in a field after mechanical harvest. Mechanical harvesting can reduce food waste and typically leaves only 1 to 2 percent of yield behind.
Photograph by: Greg Urquiaga/UC Davis
It isn’t often that we think a lot about food loss and waste. For example, have you ever thought about this: food waste and loss amounts to $1 trillion in economic costs. And how about these startling facts: 20 percent of land, seventy percent of water withdrawals, and thirty percent of energy are embedded in the food system.
Amy Quinton, who writes about science and agricultural research, has created a new podcast called Unfold. She co-hosts and co-produces the podcast with Alexa Renee. The first season of Unfold looks at how to sustainably feed an expected 10 billion people worldwide by 2050. Quinton will describe the goals behind doing a podcast on food waste and food loss. She will be joined by Ned Spang, an Assistant Professor in the Food Science and Technology Department at UC Davis.
Spang’s research focuses on the linked relationship between food, water and energy and finding efficiencies in those systems. He recently published an in-depth review of the causes of food loss and waste globally, as well as the environmental impact of food losses on farms.
Full Title: Identifying and overcoming barriers to onsite non-potable water reuse in California from local stakeholder perspectives
Onsite (a.k.a. decentralized) water reuse can reduce overall potable water demand and aid in meeting water reduction goals. In spite of clear benefits, onsite non-potable water systems (ONWS), specifically non-blackwater commercial systems, face many challenges that are preventing growth and expansion in California. This study utilized a technical advisory committee and a survey to identify the most significant challenges facing onsite water reuse systems, how these challenges affect ONWS stakeholders, and potential solutions at the state level. The given methods found that the most prevalent challenges hindering the growth of ONWS appeared to be the absence of a local regulatory program, system cost, poor access to training for regulators, and limited public education about alternate water sources. Survey results revealed several possible drivers for the existence of these challenges including that informational and training resources are not adequately disseminated to target groups. The study concluded that the creation of trainings for regulators, the development of an organization dedicated to onsite systems, expanded technology certifications, policy changes, and highlighting existing systems might help overcome the challenges hindering growth and allow for greater expansion of onsite non-potable water systems throughout California.