Stories / Impact

JBF, WildAid, and SVA Launch Campaign Combatting Food Waste

JBF Editors

April 22, 2024


In honor of Earth Day, the James Beard Foundation (JBF), WildAid, a leading environmental and conservation nonprofit, and The School of Visual Arts (SVA) partnered to launch a new advertising campaign aimed at educating consumers on reducing food waste. Leveraging JBF’s industry expertise, the new initiative provides at-home cooks with creative chef-approved recipes that also help to reduce their carbon emissions.

The advertising campaign highlights the staggering environmental impact of food waste, with the average American discarding over 325 pounds of food per year, equating to the carbon pollution of 42 coal-fired power plants. From savory broths made from veggie scraps to creative uses for stale bread (one of the top food ingredients wasted), the campaign empowers individuals to use their leftovers to reduce their environmental footprint, while also saving money amid rising food prices.

Using the James Beard Foundation’s Waste Not cookbook as a guide—a full-use cookbook featuring recipes from JBF impact program alumni, James Beard Award-winning chefs, and others—the team enlisted top talent with New York–based photographer Max Flatow and food stylist Judy Kim to materialize the concept to transform leftovers and food scraps into tasty, shareable new meals. As part of the photoshoot, the team made rice pudding and fried rice with leftover takeout rice, sugar cookies with sour milk, a salad with stale bread croutons, tepache with pineapple rinds, and a vegetable soup with vegetable scraps. The campaign provides practical tips and recipes to help consumers make the most of their ingredients.

This capsule campaign is part of WildAid’s broader nationwide “Environment Excuse” initiative, launched in December 2022, to help Americans become more carbon literate and reduce the carbon emissions associated with their lifestyles. The campaign features creative content developed in partnership with SVA, who were able to tap JBF’s long standing relationships with photographers, food stylists, and videographers.  

SVA students Elyza Nachimson and Katie Chen created the concept behind the Food Waste campaign under the guidance of faculty Jay Marsen and Alexei Beltrone as part of a new SVA Advertising course, Advertising Portfolio: Agency, in which students get the opportunity to produce work for real clients. The campaign will be featured in roughly $3 million worth of out-of-home (OOH) media placements across major U.S. markets, thanks in part, to pro bono support from media companies like JCDecaux, Lamar, Outfront, Clear Channel, and Insite. Ads will run in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Savannah, and Sacramento.

To learn more and view the advertising creative, visit the campaign website. Follow along on social via the WildAid and James Beard Foundation Instagram channels for more information.