Waste Not, Want Not: Food

. Friday, November 27


We’ve all seen the ads on TV of the horribly ravaged, starving children in poor, undeveloped countries. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide don’t have enough to eat. Food shortages are real, critical and yet to be resolved in any sort of enduring, permanent way.

Contrast that reality with recent findings that show that 40 percent of all food produced in the US is thrown out. The number of homes in the US that have had their eating habits altered due to lack of money has gone from 4.7 million in 2007 to 6.7 million in 2008. 30 percent of all food is wasted.

Our current food production system is incredibly inefficient. An enormous percentage of food is lost during every step of the way from food production through consumption. It is lost during harvesting, processing, transport, distribution, and sale to consumers. A UN Report details that over 50% of the food produced world-wide is lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain. (Food Waste: From Field to Kitchen)

On average, a pound of food per day per person ends up in landfills producing methane, adding to global warming as a major greenhouse gas. During the production process itself, less than half of what farmers produce actually makes it onto someone’s table.

It’s time to bring these numbers down, wouldn’t you say? What can you do?

  1. Don’t worry so much about a tiny blemish on fruits and vegetables.
  2. Buy only what you know you and your family will eat.
  3. Prepare and serve meals based on what you know will be eaten.
  4. Save the leftovers to reheat another day instead of throwing them out.
  5. Get a doggy bag to go for what you don’t eat at a restaurant.
  6. Reduce portion sizes.

These are only a few suggestions. Do you have more ways to reduce our wastefulness?

Oh, yes. What you do does make a difference.