People of IonE: Jennifer Schmitt and the multifaceted fight against food waste

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota Institute on Environment.

Jennifer Schmitt, program director and lead scientist for the Institute on the Environment’s NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise, has no typical day. Whether it’s collaborating with other researchers or meeting with IonE Director of Partnerships & Development Jan Gerstenberger to discuss future opportunities, there’s no question Schmitt has her hands full at NorthStar. Inside and outside of IonE, Schmitt advances research and engagement about complex issues near and dear to her heart, just one of which is the food wasted throughout Minnesota, the United States, and the world.

Recently, Schmitt collaborated with IonE Fellow and College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences Professor Hikaru Peterson and CFANS Ph.D. student Vanee Dusoruth to estimate a local food waste baseline, examining national, regional, and local studies to estimate the amount of food that is discarded, diverted, and landfilled in Minnesota. The research is significant not only for the scientific community, but also for all consumers. Below, Schmitt gives us a taste of what inspires her as a researcher, what she recommends we do to reduce our own food waste, and how she hopes IonE will help lead the way to a lower-waste, more sustainable future.

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