There are some things we just don't seem to think about and food waste is one of them ... but we should as the amount of discarded food in North America is staggering with waste percentages averaging 30% of all food grown and produced. Recently we watched a film, "Just Eat It" exposing some interesting facts with regards to the mostly affluent North American lifestyle and the huge amount of food discarded by supermarkets, restaurants and in the home. There are varied and extensive consequences of this waste. Be ready to be shocked and inspired.
"About one third of all food produced is lost in the food supply chain"
Quote from Food Emissions
"We have to waste less to feed more" ~ National Geographic
"How Reducing Food Waste Could Ease Climate Change"
Food Waste - the story
The video story-line follows a couple who spent six months eating discarded food and store produce rejects, often resulting in "dumpster diving". It's not as gruesome as it sounds and the diverse kinds and freshness of the food thrown away is simply unbelievable. Many of the items were still within the "use by" date but still were thrown in the trash. There are massive implications of food waste; clearly beginning with the potential of feeding many others in need.
The movie says it all so here is the link ~ "Just Eat It" is free online in Canada at:
How to Avoid Food Waste
Some suggestions about personal food purchases :
- Rethink your own needs as a high percentage of the food discarded is for "cosmetic" reasons i.e. it does not meet size, colour, configuration standards of supermarket criteria
- Start a "free food" recycling centre for local discarded food from farmers and primary producers or discarded food such as Second Harvest (hunger facts for Canada)
- Plan your meals a week in advance if you shop weekly and buy only what you need
- Use your freezer - label and date all items
- Check if you can make a meal from leftovers or what is already in your refrigerator or cupboard
- Preparing and cooking meals does not have to be complicated or time-consuming to be nutritious
- It's always a good time to start a garden - "on a porch or in a pot, it really does not matter what" and learn how to grow lettuce, radish, zucchini and other super simple foods
- Food bought locally such as at Farmers Market is more healthy & nutritious than the supermarket equivalent shipped or trucked for thousands of miles, sometimes travelling for weeks or stored for months
- Use your household food waste (non meat and dairy) to add to your organic compost as it is the ultimate in recycling and produces less carbon emissions at home than industrial processed compost
Is it time for you to think and act on how you are dealing with the topic of food and the large percentage of food waste which takes place in our homes, restaurants and supermarkets. This is an overwhelming topic but any small positive change is a step in the right direction.
"Agriculture is responsible for 75% of global deforestation"
Quote Food Emissions
Links and References
- "Just Eat It" - some locations of the movie near you
- Farmers donate discarded crops to be recycled as dried soup & donated globally to 40 countries - Gleaners Food Aid
- Another organization Food is Free in Austin, Texas uses recycled materials, teaches others to grow food as well as giving away produce
- Here is an Australian version of Food is Free laneway Ballarat, Victoria. Fresh produce, seeds, and plants are grown, donated and given away
"The energy that goes into the production, harvest, transportation, and packaging of wasted food produces more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide" ~ National Geographic
- Food and Climate change - David Suzuki Foundation
- The Food Recovery Hierachy - US EPA
- "How Reducing Food Waste Could Ease Climate Change" - National Geographic
- Food Waste Facts from United Nations Environment Program
'The impact of food waste is not just financial. Environmentally, food waste leads to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides; more fuel used for transportation; and more rotting food, creating more methane – one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change"
- Reducing food waste - Natural Resources Defense Council
- 10 Ways to Cut Global Food Loss and Waste
- Food waste and what they are doing about it in Australia - "Food Waste and Environment Facts"
New France law making it illegal for supermarkets to discard edible food - July 2015