Food..Food…Glorious Food!! It’s delicious, nutritious and puts a smile on most of our faces! Am I wrong in saying there is no better feeling than a food coma? But some of you out there may not be aware of the current problem with food wastage in rich countries like ours (and the likelihood is that we've all been a part of it). Whether it’s being over ambitious about the amount of vegetables you can eat, forgetting that they are alive and will go bad eventually, piling your plate high to the sky and letting your eyes judge and not your belly, or believing that composting is just for hippies.
We are all guilty of this. I know I am! But what can we do to get out of the habit of wasting food so frequently? In a perfect world, we'd all shop more frequently- buying our produce fresh on the day we want to use it, which I'm sure we'd all do if we had the time! We can take a leaf out of our grandma’s book and preserve things in jars.. apricots in honey anyone?? But I think the best tips for cutting down food wastage are:
- Only buying as much food as you need (stop the bulk buy!)
- Planning your meals to use up leftover ingredients
- Composting scraps that are leftover
- Placing pressure on corporations (certain supermarket chains) to change their selection methods. A lot of food that isn't aesthetically up to scratch for supermarkets is still perfectly good to eat!
- Check out even more ideas for cutting down food waste here.
Food wastage globally is an enormous problem. I recently discovered this when I stumbled across an amazing campaign called Feed the 5K- an initiative to feed 5000 members of the UK public off produce that would have been thrown away due to these companies' strict guidelines on cosmetic perfection. Tristram Stuart, the man behind this initiative and author of multiple books to do with food wastage, has found that almost half of western countries food wastage is due to produce not looking appealing. I don’t know if it’s just me but that seems disturbing.
So what can we do to help on a bigger scale? I'll try to answer that question in more detail now. If you want to go extreme and really show these businesses you disagree with them, you can become a freegan, or dumpster diver as it is more commonly known, and live comfortably off supermarkets “scraps”. If digging in dumpsters is a bit extreme, find your local farmers' market and support our farmers here in Australia, join a community garden group, create a compost bin for your apartment building that everyone can use to grow wonderful herb or vegetable gardens.
I think if we all just start with recognising our wastage and actively do our best to reduce it, the flow on effect of everyone doing that is massive. And if you want more information on the current global food wastage problem, here is an informative and eye opening ted talk Tristram Stuart.