Let’s Talk About Food…food waste, that is

Did you know that 25% of food purchased and/or served is wasted?! Pretty upsetting, no? I’ve been thinking about food waste; like, how food often gets forgotten in the back of our big refrigerators – veggies rotting, cheese molding and leftovers ignored. Right now, I know there is a head of bok choy resting in my crisper likely ready to decay at any moment. There is also a tubberware of last week’s leftovers on the bottom shelf waiting to be eaten – or, at this point, composted. Another source of food waste that comes to mind is excessive portion size.

My compost bin tends to fill rather quickly. It tends to contain apple cores, veggie peels and uneaten leftovers. I wonder how much actual food am I carelessly tossing during food prep? Something to think about for sure.
So let’s talk compost – the upside to food waste. Whether it’s a backyard composter, an apartment size vermicompost colony or your city-issued green bin, (re)turning food scraps to rich soil is an amazing thing (though never an excuse for wasting food). Composting – a love of Marla’s – puts nutrients back into our soil, gives plants a major boost, and diverts (so-called) waste from the landfill.

This Autumn, I attended RUST (Radical Urban Sustainability Training) – there will eventually be a blog entry on RUST if you want to know more – where Scott Kellogg, co-founder of RUST and co-author of the Toolbox for Sustainable Urban Living, talked a lot about compost and its role in regenerating our soil and our role in facilitating regeneration. Here are a few food scraps that your plants would love – mixed in to potted house plants or garden beds:

  • Crushed egg shells for calcium
  • Coffee grounds for nitrogen-hungry plants like tomatoes

So, where does that leave us? Well, I am going to reduce my food waste! I will (a) keep my fridge manageable, eating up what I have before buying more; (b) reduce my portion size – I can always go for seconds if I’m still hungry anyway; (c) eat my leftovers – I’m especially bad for this one; and (d) eat more of each veggie and fruit.

Do you have any tips? Here is an interesting site about food waste: http://www.wastedfood.com/.

Yours in food, Keltie

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Food…food waste, that is

  1. Chickens seem willing to eat lots of things like peels, or so I have heard. The point was also brought up briefly at the root cellar tour that buying in bulk from the farmer allows us to purchase the forked carrots and juice-quality apples that grocery stores would not accept. Buying closer to home i think would also mean less loss to rot. In Europe the gleaning phenomenon takes care of a lot of slightly imperfect produce that can’t be sold.

    I bring a reusable tupperware when I eat out at restaurants that I know will give me a bigger portion than I can eat!

  2. Gleaning reminds me that the ‘underclass’ takes care of a lot of food waste as well, street folk, punks and food not bombs are an unseen social force that recover food waste.

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