While we’re all familiar with the stats about how much food we throw away at home (estimated up to 40% of what we buy at grocery stores), there’s a surprising amount of food that’s thrown away before it even gets the opportunity to stink up your fridge.
When you see a perfect globe of an apple at Whole Foods, rest assured that there are ugly duckling apples… never picked for the prom, sulking in box somewhere. In many cases those apples will find a way to market, but sometimes they just sit and sit and sit until they become part of the roughly 1/3 of all food that is destroyed in the US. Imagine what having nearly 50% more food in this country would mean to 50 million people in the US who don’t have the food security that most of us take as a given.
While we do what we can to help food shelters (often facilitating the donation of truckloads of food), that’s a drop in the bucket if a USDA-driven initiative to reduce 50% of food waste in the US is successful. While we really hope that companies and individuals take this seriously, we have to admit to some skepticism that a volunteer program over the course of 15 years (the timeline for the 50% reduction goal) is going to achieve its goal – especially when most of our fridges are often just Airbnb for cauliflower on its way to the trash bin (or for us very ecologically-minded food wasters, the compost bin).
Having said that, the fact that there is growing awareness of this problem is a great thing. It seems like we’re in desperate need of celebrity spokespeople for this. If Kim Kardashian can get 23 million teenage girls to download an app where they simply buy stuff, maybe she can mobilize a post-Millennial food waste police force ready to pounce on their parents’ laissez faire approach to melon stewardship.
OTOH, that means the kids need to eat more fruits and vegetables if they rat out their parents… how’s that for a moral quandary?
Look, cooking isn’t always fun, but the next time you think “ah, I’ll cook that cardoon tomorrow” then think to yourself: “will I really?” Probably not, so bust out your copy of 1001 Cardoon Recipes and get cracking.