Thinking Out Loud

Food waste

By Theagarajan_CML

So I went out of town this weekend to visit a very dear friend of mine. I guess you could call us both “foodies” given that everything we do when we see each other revolves around food and trying new cuisines.

While dining at one particular restaurant I couldn’t help but notice the sheer volume of wasted food that I saw on peoples’ plates. The portions were so massive that even for the typical American diner it’d be hard to finish what was on the plate. It was funny because as soon as we got back to her house, there was a National Geographic Magazine sitting on her coffee table with a special edition on food waste in America. I started reading and couldn’t believe it. One third of the food we produce in this country never gets eaten. It’s wasted. From farms, family dinner tables to fast food chains, restaurants and grocery stores there is enough wasted food per pound per year to feed millions (if not more). It stated:

“At 2.8 trillion pounds, that’s enough sustenance to feed three billion people. In the United States, the waste is even more egregious: More than 30 percent of our food, valued at $162 billion annually, isn’t eaten. Pile all that food on a football field and the layers would form a putrefying casserole miles high.” –Nat Geo, 2014

Many fruits and vegetables are discarded simply because they’re not symmetrical, small enough, big enough, you name it.

All is not lost however. The article also highlighted a number of nonprofits that are breaking down barriers to fight food insecurity by reusing, recycling and in-turn reducing food waste. Several of them take wasted food from several food chains and substitute it for pig feed. Others are redefining beauty and what’s desirable by featuring “weird” looking vegetables and fruits in their restaurants.

This is a BIG topic with a lot that can be said. I do ask you however to think about what you order next time you sit down at a restaurant or the food in your refrigerator that you could salvage and eat. All you need to do is look at the corners of many busy streets here in Fresno to see that food insecurity is not just in Africa.


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