FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 22, 2022
Charlene Louis (DSLBD) – (202) 578-6023 [email protected]
The Department of Small and Local Business Development Announces Fiscal Year 2022 Food Waste Innovation Grant Awardees.
(Washington, DC) – On April 22, 2022, the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development ("DSLBD") announced 22 winners of the District’s inaugural $300,000 Food Waste Innovation Grants ("FWIG"). These grants will provide support for restaurants, food manufacturers, shared commercial kitchens, and commercial corridors like Main Streets and Business Improvement Districts to minimize food waste. 50 businesses will also receive Compost Credits to start composting in their restaurants. Reducing food waste in the District’s food businesses can cut food and waste costs, reduce rodents, and reduce carbon emissions. The announcement was made on Earth Day at MLK Deli, 3113 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington, DC 20032, a legacy business located in Congress Heights.
DSLBD worked closely with Agricity LLC (dba “Compost Cab”), a local sustainability company and DC Certified Business Enterprise with deep experience designing and operating food recovery and organics recycling programs, and the Latino Economic Development Center ("LEDC"), a not-for-profit with deep roots in sustainable communities, to implement the FWIG program.
"Our agency is committed to leveraging resources to support the local business community as well as the Administration’s ambitious climate and Sustainable DC goals. The Food Waste Innovation Grants are a terrific example of bringing public, private, and not-for-profit resources to bear around common goals. We're excited to get started," states DSLBD Director Kristi C. Whitfield.
Monica Ray, the Executive Director of the Congress Heights' Main Street Program and winner of one of the Food Waste Innovation grants, states, "We, Destination Congress Heights (DCH), serve over 14,000 + Ward 8 residents and represent 74 businesses on our Main Street corridor and 53 businesses at our Saturday St Elizabeth Pop-Up Farmers and Makers Marketplace. We desire to become a leader in small business waste reduction, recycling, and composting over the next five years. A Food Waste Innovation Grant will allow Destination Congress Heights to partner with the Congress Heights Partnership and Compost Cab to design and launch a neighborhood-wide waste reduction, recycling, and composting program."
"All things being equal, people want to do the right thing," said Jeremy Brosowsky, CEO of Agricity and the creator of Compost Cab, the company's pioneering local composting service. "Our job is to make it as easy as possible for people to reduce food waste and take action on behalf of the climate and the community." Methane related to food waste makes up 10% of all greenhouse gasses, and food waste makes up more than a third of the District's waste stream. "DC's food community is committed to a more sustainable future," Brosowsky continued, "and we're proud to be developing the models, programs, and infrastructure that supports that." Agricity has provided FWIG grantees with a waste assessment and waste reduction recommendations and will provide food scrap collection & composting services to FWIG grantees as well as an additional 20+ Compost Credit recipients.
"We take a community and economic development approach that we'll bring to bear for a more sustainable city through this program," said Marjorie Nemes-Galarza, interim executive director and CEO of the LEDC. "We're looking forward to collaborating with the DSLBD and Agricity teams to make the FWIG program a success."