Did you know that the less-photogenic produce at your supermarket gets tossed?
And that, despite a 26-year high in unemployment, 40 percent of food produced in the United States is never eaten?
“It’s time for the food chain to get over its obsession with perfect produce,” says writer Jonathan Bloom, describing the weeding-out of curved cucumbers and straight bananas as “ludicrous.”
“What happens to the bread at the end of the day?” asked Bloom in a recent phone conversation. “It’s a topic that falls between the cracks. It doesn’t fall neatly into any one category.” On his website, wastedfood.com, he explores the subject in depth.
As we move deeper into the current recession, these issues will continue to make headlines.
Bloom’s writings on food waste have led to multiple interviews on this now-hot topic, including an appearance on The Today Show. A book is in the works.
While in journalism school, he volunteered for the Washington D.C. food recovery group, ,D.C. Central Kitchen, a life-changing experience he found “shocking and jarring.”
“I knew this was a topic I would stick with for a while.”
One promising trend: Many college cafeterias are ditching their trays. A recent study by Aramark show that food waste is reduced by 1.2 to 1.8 ounces per person per meal when the trays are gone – a 25 to 30 percent reduction in food waste.
With no trays to wash, schools gain other savings in both money and energy.
“It makes so much sense,” says Bloom.
And wouldn’t the tray-less cafeteria combat the time-honored “freshman 15?” I asked, referring to those extra unwanted pounds that sneak their way onto unsuspecting college freshmen.
“There’s minimal downside.”
Guess what else?
Rotten food produces methane gas, a major contributor to global warming. Bloom works with a renewable energy company in North Carolina, exploring ways to convert the methane gas from food waste into electricity.
So? Are you converted now?
The food writer suggests five strategies to combat home food waste.
- Jot down what you’re throwing out. Awareness of what you waste will force you to cut down.
- Plan your meals.
- Make detailed shopping lists. Watch those impulse buys!
- Serve reasonable portions. You can always have seconds.
- Save those leftovers. Then — most importantly — actually eat them!
Jonathan Bloom’s writings can be found at wastedfood.com.
What are you doing to combat food waste in the home? Please share your strategies in the comments section below.
“Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”