“You waste life when you waste good food”
– Katherine Anne Porter
Not a soul would go to bed hungry, if we do not waste the food we grow. The food and agriculture organisation (FAO) states that one-third of food produced for human consumption worldwide is annually lost or wasted. That accounts to 1.3 billion tonnes of food that can be used to alleviate hunger.
The reasons for food loss or waste may be due to
● failure to harvest
● post-harvest loss
● marketing and
● other business decisions.
The wasted food produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas,when it rots in landfills. This gas has 20 times heat trapping capacity as carbon dioxide and harms our air, water and earth. Environmentalists are also keen on fighting food waste that contributes to the climate change – a serious problem potentially threatening the existence of mankind.
So, how do we prevent food waste? The solution to this problem is food banking – helps feed the hungry and protect the environment.
Food banks capture the nutritious, perfectly edible or surplus food and redistribute it to feed hungry people through a network of agencies – school feeding programs, food pantries, soup kitchens, AIDS and TB hospices, substance abuse clinics, after-school programs, and other nonprofit programs.
Apart from this, do we have the responsibility to reduce food waste in our homes? If yes, how do we achieve it. Here are some of the ways that will help us adopt a waste – less mindset:
● Maintain the fridge at the right temperature to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh. Make sure to pack them properly so that they remain fresh for a long time.
● Avoid throwing good food – Make soups, smoothies or simple grill with the leftover ripe vegetables and fruits. Freeze or refrigerate leftovers.
● Learn to understand the use-by and best-before dates, as these stamps were designed to communicate peak freshness and have nothing to do with food safety.
● Avoid the tendency to overbuy food that is relatively cheap and attractively packed.
● Buy the imperfect looking fruits and vegetables that are still tasty and nutritious.
We could make this world a better place by preventing the food waste and protecting the environment.
I have been thinking about this for while since I had been contributing to this problem and believe that there are simple things we can do to reduce wastage. For example, we usually throw perishable fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, due to not knowing what to do. What usually happens is that I may have a bit of a squash, a piece of a cauliflower or cabbage, one small zucchini and a bunch of carrots. I choose to cube all these leftover vegetables and add a cup of lentils and make soup.
Do you have a backup plan for the leftovers in your fridge? In my next blog, I would discuss simple healthy recipes prepared from leftovers!