AbraCadabra: Disappearing Food Waste in the Supply Chain

Session III: 3:30pm - 5:00pm

Reducing food waste is seen as a path to greater efficiencies, bottom line savings, and climate mitigation. Business and nonprofits are partnering to take this on, but what impact are these new models having on food waste reduction? Panelists include wholesalers of “imperfect” produce, a large-scale composter, and the Oregon Food Bank, who partners with dozens of organizations as a destination for food that would otherwise expire or be thrown out. Participants will learn about collaborations and the challenges panelists still face in their food waste initiatives.

Speakers: Pierce Louis, Dirt Hugger; Reilly Brock, Imperfect Produce; Katie Pearmine, Oregon Food Bank; Lisa Spicka, Sustainable Food Trade Association; Ashley Zanolli

Speaker Bios

Reilly Brock is the content manager at Imperfect Produce.  He is the communications bridge between the world of agriculture and the grocery buying public. It's his job every day to dive deep into the literature, policy, and business landscape surrounding agriculture and food waste, find and distill the most salient information, and translate it into terms that a wide variety of audiences can understand and act on. He also regularly visits farms to learn more about their stories and share the reality and challenges that they face in digestible, compelling, and actionable terms for the general public. His role leverages his passion for communications, research, and story-telling, and lets him spend his days listening, learning, and writing his way towards a more sustainable food system.


Pierce Louis is a co-founder at Dirt Hugger, a composting company located in Dallesport, WA. At Dirt Hugger, Pierce serves as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ focusing on business development, marketing and finance, but leaving time to run loaders and screen compost. In eight years Dirt Hugger has built two facilities in two states including a 35,000 ton per year turned aerated static pile facility. Pierce received a BA from University of Virginia, an MBA from Oxford and currently serves on the board of the US Compost Council.

Katie Pearmine -- Growing up on a farm in the North Willamette Valley, Katie has worked in agriculture since childhood. As the Strategic Sourcing Manager for Oregon Food Bank, Katie leads a team responsible for procuring food for people experiencing hunger in Oregon and Clark County Washington. Katie’s previous work includes: field work and outdoor education in rural Oregon, ten years in publishing and marketing, and five years with Oregon Department of Agriculture. Katie spends her free time on food access and land use issues, and is chairing Oregon State University, Food Innovation Center’s advisory board, and acting a Commissioner for Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

Lisa Spicka (Moderator) is the Associate Director of SFTA, and primary Education Director for its project the Climate Collaborative, Lisa uses her diverse background to develop educational and analytic tools that help companies uncover sustainability priorities, and learn about practical solutions to grow their triple-bottom-line practices. Lisa also uses these skills as CEO of Maracuja Solutions, where she helps clients integrate supply chain engagement initiatives and incorporate sustainability strategy and business planning to scale their business services and products with integrity. Lisa has worked extensively in the United States and Latin America since 1997 in the organic agriculture, food and dairy industry. She has held operations, supply chain integrity, education, and sustainability leadership roles for a spectrum of companies, including Cypress Grove Chevre, OCIA, and Amway-Nutrilite.  In her roles, Lisa has led domestic and global initiatives that focus on supply chain integrity, food safety, organic certification, and sustainability management. She holds a Spanish degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and graduated cum laude from Thunderbird School of Global Management, with a Global MBA in sustainable supply chain management. 

Ashley Zanolli is considered a national expert on wasted food prevention and measurement.  Prior to doing this work independently from the government, she worked on assignment from the US EPA to the Oregon DEQ Materials Management Program as a senior policy and program advisor.  Her main focus was on the implementing of a statewide strategy to prevent the wasting of food, a statewide residential and commercial measurement study to understand types, quantities and loss reasons of wasted food. She is currently advising an industry engagement process with retailers, brands, and the Pacific Coast Collaborative. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and serves on various national advisory councils, including the advisory group for ReFED and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.