Being Mindful About Food Waste
“I recognize the right and responsibility of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of this land; I do not recognize the right to waste them or rob, through wasteful use, the generations that come after us.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: 40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste. 40%!
Farms, grocery stores and restaurants are partially responsible, but frequently this waste happens in our own households.
How many times have you thrown out food because:
- you over-purchased fresh produce that eventually went bad
- you didn’t store your bread properly and the next morning it was hard as a rock
- you couldn’t finish that second helping of spaghetti
- you never really thought about how much food you were wasting
While these offenses may seem harmless, on a global scale food waste actually matters. Spoilage, improper storage, plate waste and ignorance produce over 33 million tons of annual food waste in the U.S. alone, so eliminating this waste not only benefits your household budget, but also the world around you!
Most food waste ends up in landfills that produce harmful greenhouse gases. It’s been estimated that reducing food waste by just 50% would have the same benefit to the environment as taking every car off the road. Think about that the next time you throw away the other half of that sandwich.
Reducing food waste also decreases demand for food production, an industry that uses enormous water and energy resources, in addition to creating millions of tons of greenhouse gases.
“If you can’t feed 100 people, than feed just one.” – Mother Theresa
What if you could feed millions?
Reducing waste could actually help millions who live at risk. One in six Americans struggles with hunger, yet we could feed 25 million people just by wasting 15% less food!
Fortunately people are waking up.
In San Francisco, chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterso are making healthy and affordable fast food using high-quality ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. There’s also Lean Path, the Oregon-based tech company whose software measures food waste to help restaurants more effectively keep their purchasing and demand in balance. Read more about these innovators here: http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/the-untapped-potential-of-wasted-food?mbid=social_facebook
What YOU can do:
- pre-plan your week and buy only what you need
- don’t be afraid of the “funny looking” food
- use the whole vegetable or fruit
- educate yourself about when food actually goes bad, so before that happens you can get creative—cut off the bruises and make purées, jams or soups
- make your own frozen food—grab those veggies and fruit you know you won’t use in time and take 5 minutes to cut them up, put them in freezer bags and store them
- convert your leftovers into pastas, stir-fries or casseroles—or throw everything into a tortilla and call it a wrap!
- donate the food you aren’t going to eat
- compost anything you do have to throw away
It wasn’t so long ago that our ancestors would use the whole animal, and nothing would be wasted. At Mother Organica and YummeYou, we are going to focus on using the whole vegetable/fruit.
Let’s take broccoli for example: Not only is this veggie loaded with essential vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals that make it a detoxifying cancer and disease preventer, it also has twice the protein of a steak per 100 calories! The florets have more of the protective phytochemicals, while the stalks have more heart-healthy fiber that aids in digestion.
We’re here to show you how using the whole vegetable or fruit can improve your culinary skills and save money, while still resulting in delicious gourmet food. We’re also here to encourage you to follow these simple steps to reducing food waste.
In doing so, you’ll be leading by example, helping feed the hungry, saving money, and creating a more sustainable future.
“Respect for food is respect for life, for who we are and what we do.” – Thomas Keller