Wednesday, March 29, 2006

An End to Food Waste

Two weeks ago on our TO DO list, we started to reduce plastic bags in our lives. Why not? Who needs them? Thanks to Janer and Red Jane for their comments on recycling bags and batteries, as well as good deals on florescent bulbs. Dominion grocery store happily accepts used plastic bags. I’m sure others do as well. Just ask.

Now that we are all doing our bit to reduce those ubiquitous bags, I thought I’d add a few words about the so called ‘crisper’ in our fridges, you know that place where we store our produce. I call it the ‘rotter.’ The place where healthy fruits and vegetables go to wilt, rot and die. It sounds terrible and it is. Let’s do our bit to stop it.

Wonderful People Doing Fabulous Things
Californians are doing it for themselves.

TO Do This Week

Food Waste
Don’t you just hate throwing out rotting veggies and fruit, and slimy left overs? It’s such a waste. Jane and I had gotten into the ridiculous habit of over buying. Really, it’s such bad planning.

To Do - I encourage all of us to stop the needless decay of our fruits and vegetables, dairy and leftovers. This week, before you do your shopping, get into the habit of assessing the remaining produce and other volatile food in your fridge and plan on meals that use them. Need some menu ideas? Check out Epicurious, All Recipes or VegWeb, which are online recipe databases. Input your ingredients and see what menus this site comes up with.

What’s the Big Deal - Throwing out food is a waste of energy (hello GHG emissions), water and money. According to a 2004 study from the University of Arizona, Americans throw out 14% of their food purchases. That amounts to $590 per year. But get this…forty to fifty per cent of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten. This waste is part of our consumption, impacting on the amount of land, water, fertilizers and pesticides used to produce all this food. The use of water in food production is mind-boggling. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, for every dollar you spend on fruits, vegetables and grains, 2355 liters or 622 gallons of water has been used.

Another ominous problem is global soil degradation. According to David Suzuki in The Sacred Balance, it takes an average of 500 years to build 2.5 centimetres of topsoil. We are losing 23 billion tonnes of new soil production a year, or 0.7 percent of the world’s soil, thanks in part to industrial farming.

“At that rate, when my fourteen-year-old daughter reaches her sixtieth birthday, more than 30 percent of the world’s current supplies of topsoil will be gone, but humankind’s numbers will have doubled,” says Suzuki.

What’s more, think of the packaging and transportation required to deliver the food from the farm to you. The annual GHG price tag on producing, processing, packaging and distributing food for a family of four is four tonnes.

What if everyone consumed only what they needed? More pointedly, what if you and I consumed only what we needed? I could go on about organic food too – but I’ll get into that at a later time.

In the News

Truth Out

No comments: