According to the National Resources Defense Center (NRDC), a whopping 40% of food produced in the U.S. never gets eaten! (Yes, I watched that episode of John Oliver). And yet we continue to hear that we need GMO crops to feed an ever-growing population. Something just isn’t adding up here!
Try getting involved with a local food rescue to help prevent food waste the smart way.
On an individual level, here’s what each of us can do to make a difference:
1- Buy fresh produce and perishables frequently and in small quantities.
2- Freeze what you don’t need for later use. (Most foods are freezer-friendly).
3- Ask your server if they carry half-sized portions. Oftentimes, you won’t see this on the menu when the option does exist. If the answer is ‘no’, then ask for a to-go container and finish every last bite when you get those munchies later (and recycle that container, if it’s salvageable)!
4- Grow your own vegetables and fruit. Pick what you need, then donate, sell, or compost (to a local farmer’s market) what you don’t.
5- Don’t fear ugly produce. Lettuce should still be green, but if it doesn’t look perfect or is the last one of its kind on the shelf– JUST EAT IT!
6- A lot of people may disagree with me on this one, but I stand firm! Feed a hungry animal. Birds, coyotes, deer, and other animals are increasingly being displaced due to drought and habitat loss. Drop off some leftover roast, turkey (coyotes), seeds (birds), nuts and fruits (deer) where you know they might find them. Our survival depends on their survival. ❤ ❤
7- If you know you’re not going to need that ketchup, that side of bread or saltines, or will only be able to finish half of that glass of water… why not ask your server at the outset to downsize the order. If you still get a full sized glass of water, use it to water something with. I have been known to sneak out of a restaurant, with glass in hand to water anything green that’s growing out of the ground!
8- Eat more vegetables/ Eat less meat. Meat is the most “expensive” food item we could consume because it takes so much energy to produce. Its production contributes significantly to climate change, while a plant-based diet has been linked to increased health and longevity. Sounds like a win-win to me!
9- Do you really need to go in for seconds? Sure, it’s nice every now and then to treat yourself… but it’s important to note that calorie restriction has been linked to increased longevity. If skipping a meal every now and then might add some years to my life, and life to my years… turning my nose up at that second slice of pumpkin pie sure comes a lot easier!
10- Vegetables a little wilted? Fruit a little too ripe? Sounds like the perfect makings of a good hearty soup, stew, or omelet… or how about some homemade jam or fruit popsicles? Oh yeahhh, baby!!