I just read the latest issue of National Geographic about food waste
and I’m shocked.
We waste like 2.9 trillion pounds of food a year, because a lot of it gets sorted out and is considered too ugly for supermarkets.
Thanks to the former Trader Joe’s owner, Doug Rauch, who opened up a store in Massachussets – people can buy vegetables for discounted prices (It’s called the Daily Table), where the vegetables are VERY close to peak ripeness and are about to run out of shelf life, but I don’t know how far this store stretches and if it’s a chain or not.
The problem is that the article talks about this guy called ‘Tristram Stuart’ who collects food exactly like this, and uses them (or used them in this one big event they were talking about) to cook community meals. This guy seems like a great guy, but the article takes a detour and obviously it should, it’s talking about food waste as a whole and not just this one guy helping everyone out. Stuart is the main’ character’ throughout this article, talking to farmers and taking the writer through this journey.
The main problem behind everything is obviously ‘If we have so much food waste, why don’t people have enough to eat???’
In this article, Elizabeth Royte touches on this service that people can subscribe to to get these fugly vegetables and therefore save on food waste, thereby helping the environment.
But even though I think it’s a good idea, what about the people that don’t have subscriptions because they don’t even have a house?
It wasn’t mentioned, but I guess there are a lot of homeless shelters that probably use this food, but most of the waste is separated at the BEGINNING – and if people don’t buy vegetables and fruits from these farmers, some of them throw tonnes into landfills.
‘If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the U.S.’
Luis Garibaldi who owns Fundo Maria Luisa, a farm which is the largest grower of mandarin oranges in Peru, said that 70% of his crop is exported to the European Union and North America, but 30% are most likely going to be discarded. This could be due to ‘scars, scratches, sunburn, fungus, or spiders’ (the last few may be reasonable, who wants to eat spider fruit?)
20% of the produce is lost because of picking/sorting, 3% is lost because of storage and shipping, 2% during canning/baking/juice production, 9% discarded at supermarkets
AND 19% DISCARDED IN HOMES.
Many people die of starvation, yet the privileged world only consumes 47% of what’s available and lays the 53% to waste. I could blame this on the public, but I know my mum likes stocking up on stuff because it’s either cheaper or because of some other reasons, so i’m not about to condemn anyone for food waste – because a lot of the time it just sits in the cupboard, until we find it 3 years later and throw it away.
I knew food waste was a huge problem, but it didn’t really occur to me how bad this is, and I don’t know why it’s only occurring now. Sometimes I just skip reading the national geographic because some of it has a lot of boring statistical articles, but when you actually sit down to read them, these opinions obviously hold some value because they were picked to be published.
Also there’s actually a lot of food that goes to community kitchens, where people (especially kids) that need a dinner can go and fill themselves up with these soon to expire/overripe vegetables which is so far the best way to use this food, but while there are still people suffering, I wonder what it is that we can really do to change this. Even using wasted food as compost seems sad to me, because that used to be food that someone could eat, but we just waited it out until it started to rot and now we’re feeding it back to the ground (which probably needs less food than our general population).
I’m not an environmental expert, and maybe everyone’s thinking we should leave this problem to the environmental experts, but even if they reduce the 20%, we’re still a 19%! It’s easy for me to say ‘let’s fix this problem,’ but can we just air an interesting looking documentary that most of the world will tune into so everyone can get the message already?