Did you know? Americans throws away 219 pounds of food per person, per year! An estimated 30 to 40 percent of all food produced in the US.
It’s the time of the year for gardens and farmers markets, picnics and BBQ’s. Summer brings us the best of local foods, fruits and vegetables. With the abundance of cherry tomatoes on the vine, and overachieving zucchini plants producing squash by the wheelbarrow full, it is hard to fathom the far-reaching reality of food waste in America. But true it is, that millions of pounds of good tasting and life sustaining food are lost every year. Where is it lost and what can be done about it?
According to the FDA, there are several basic sources of food loss:
- Over 20% of food produced in the United States never makes it to the table. It is lost on the farm, during production, or at the grocery store.
- A massive amount of food is thrown away from restaurants and eating establishments that do not have a food recovery plan in place.
- The average household throws away $1,600.00 worth of food each year due to over shopping, mismanagement of foods, an unrealistic aesthetic about how food looks (is it pretty, does it still “look” good?) and over large portions being prepared and not eaten.
The best strategies for reducing food waste begin at home:
- Plan meals and take a detailed shopping list to the market or store to avoid over buying. 6 Steps to Meal Planning
- Learn to compost fruit and vegetables to keep them out of the landfill and build ground enriching compost for use in gardens and containers. I Want to Compost But……
- Donate food that you cannot eat before it goes bad to food pantries or to those who can use it. What to do With Leftovers
- When eating out at restaurants, order only the food you can eat at that time or that you can bring home and finish later. Eating Out Without Waste
In a country where 54 million people are food insecure on any given day, it seems unconscionable that so much food ends up in local landfills. With just a little planning and forethought you can make a big difference in solving this vexing problem.
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