2023 Food Waste Solutions Summit

May 16-18, 2023 | St.Louis, MO

Leigh Prezkop

Senior Program Specialist for Food Waste

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)


Leigh Prezkop is a Senior Program Specialist for Food Waste with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization combining a foundation in science with innovation to meet the needs of both people and nature around the globe. Leigh joined WWF is 2016 and manages the food loss and farm-level work in the greater food loss and waste portfolio. Leigh’s expertise includes agriculture and food systems, urban agriculture, small-scale aquaculture, and environmental public health. Previously, Leigh worked as a farmer and fermenter for medium-scale vegetable farms and urban-farm production companies. Leigh also served in the United States Peace Corps in Zambia as a Rural Aquaculture Promotion Extension Agent, teaching locals how to construct and maintain small fish farming operations. She earned her Masters in Public Health focusing on Environmental Health Science and Policy from The George Washington University and holds a BA in Communications from Sonoma State University. 


Thursday, May 18th

10:30am - 12:00pm

Around the Table in 90 Minutes: Filling the Gaps in Food Waste Research

Workshop (Running Concurrently)

The road that leads to halving food waste by 2030 effectively starts by mapping out a research agenda. The Food Waste Monitor tool, within the ReFED Insights Engine, presents comprehensive estimates for system-wide absolute food surplus and its impacts. However, every methodology has its limitations — transparently acknowledging and clarifying those nuances and weaknesses paves the way to improve them. This workshop is geared towards experts in measurement as well as those who rely on metrics to set policy or implement solutions. Workshop participants will be divided into six facilitator-led tables, each representing a sector in the food supply system — farm, manufacturing, distribution, retail, food service, and residential. This will also serve as preliminary documentation for a ‘shared’ research agenda. Join this workshop to gain a deeper understanding of existing and emerging metrics, gaps, and opportunities in the food system as well as strengthening a community of practice among food waste measurement experts to share best practices, pool resources, and collaborate. 

Thursday, May 18th

1:30pm - 2:30pm

Insights from the Farm: Cultivating Ideas to Reduce Farm-Level Food Loss

Breakout Session (Running Concurrently)

Building a sustainable food system starts on the farm. Food that is grown but not consumed uses resources all along the farm-to-fork chain. Of the nearly 17 million tons of surplus produce generated at the farm level, a staggering 82% reached maturity but were left behind after harvest. So, how can we optimize the harvest? From protecting and restoring biodiversity to ensuring that safe and nutritious food reaches our tables, growers and producers play an indispensable role in achieving a more sustainable future…but they can’t do it alone. This session will highlight the wins, challenges, viable solutions for the future, and the role that other actors across the value chain can play to minimize food loss at the farm level. 


What is the one thing you want Summit attendees to focus on in 2023?

I’d love to for Summit attendees to focus on measurement of waste and loss throughout the whole supply chain and how/what doors that opens for reduction, diversion, and prevention through collaboration and transparency. I’d also love for Summit attendees to focus on the role of nature and biodiversity in food waste prevention as well as food insecurity and sustainable diets.

What motivates you personally to work on food waste-related issues?

What motivates me to focused on food waste-related issues is our partnerships and relationships with growers and suppliers, and finding a solution that benefits both nature and people. Growers and suppliers work to supply healthy and nutritious food to their customers, and so seeing it go to waste is not ideal. Additionally, the precious resources used to grow that food, are also being wasted. It motivates me to support growers in finding solutions, and understand what’s happening in their fields so they can streamline operations to reduce loss and waste. Growers are the foundation of our food system.

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