If eating local has taught me anything its that part of planning my meals each week is realizing what I can realistically get through until my next shopping trip. This has made me acutely aware of how much I consume and how much I waste. Eating locally means a lot of the fresh food I buy does not contain preservatives that make it last longer so keeping atop of when I need to eat things is even more important then it was before. Getting my food waste down to a next to nothing has been a goal of mine and being conscious of the issue is the first step.
Food waste is a huge problem in our modern world and especially in North America where we wastes up to 40% of food produce. I have been obsessed with this for years and still manage to waste in my own life. But there are steps each of us can take to waste less and thing we can do to try to change the cycle of food waste.
- Watch Just Eat It, waste less. Simple.Waste occurs in every step of the food chain from production to consumption and little changes we can all make can help reduce it.
- Buy the ugly produce that doesn't meet societies standard or aesthetic perfection, so what if your apple is not perfectly round it still tastes the same but will often be thrown out if you don't buy it.
- Buy less more frequently, food going bad in your home is a huge problem too so buy what you need and plan meals to avoid waste at home.
- Fresh before, best before dates are just a suggestion. Use your judgment when it comes to expiry dates and they are often very conservatives estimates of freshest and do not mean food is bad at all!
- Preserve, freeze and package food to be able to grab ready made dish's when you need them. Angela and I cook batches once a week for lunches and I never have anything left over.
As part of the work I do on campus, one of the projects I work on is the ongoing issue of food waste and ways to minimize it. We organized with the campus food service provider and a local food bank to collect any unserved food from the cafeteria at the end of the day and and donate it to a daily meal program. This month we hit our first mile stone of 1000 pounds of salvaged food donated! Read more about our food recovery work HERE. I was also interviewed for our controversial twitter feed that shares information about free food on campus with the CBC. If you want to keep track of us you can follow us on Twitter of Facebook. The media has put its twist on the tale but the end goal is reducing food waste on campus and in our everyday lives which is what I feel is most important.
In good food,
"Whenever we engage in consumption or production patterns which take more than we need, we are engaging in violence" - Vandana Shiva