|Food Waste: How To Nip It In The Bud|
|Written by Elizah Leigh|
If your monthly grocery bill was as pricey as your mortgage payment, would your relationship with food and the way you prep, eat and ultimately chuck it finally change? One can only hope that you’re uttering an emphatic helllll yeah, because as it stands right now, America has earned the dubious distinction of ditching at least ¼ of the total food that we produce (probably even more according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture).
Why? Because we can, and what’s the big deal, anyway? Every red-blooded American knows that food (like dollar store plastic trinkets and Pabst Blue Ribbon) is cheap and plentiful. When our fridge and cupboards run low, there’s always a never ending supply of edible goodies waiting for us at our local retailer.
Our culture’s inherent wastefulness is often cited as one of the top reasons why we adopt a love-‘em-and-leave-‘em philosophy toward food. We can also be kind of snobby. Why eat leftovers when we can gobble up seemingly fresher, more exciting alternatives? Well, the tides are turning... and not necessarily in our favor.
Global warming has been doing a number on global food crops by compromising yields and even destroying countless acres of plants due to erratic weather patterns. In spite of this, when a 25 cent increase is passed onto the consumer end (per ravaged fruit and veggie variety), that often isn’t enough of a smack in the face to get us to reassess our lifestyle habits.
There’s yet another force at play which could contribute to a far greater pain in our wallets and stomachs. Bees – among our most valued pollinators – have been succumbing to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a still somewhat mysterious ailment that for the past 6 decades has decimated roughly 33% of American bee colonies. Since we’re indebted to them for bringing 80% of the plant-based foods that we regularly munch on to fruition, let’s just put it this way: Houston, we have a problem.
Attention all meat and potato lovers: Don’t think that you’re off the hook. Even if fresh fruit and vegetables aren’t your cup of tea, a mind-boggling volume of staple grains are necessary to create the animal-based protein foods that you know and love.
So, if climate change and CCD contributed to astronomical food prices – which they very well could in the foreseeable future – what would you personally do to afford your weekly grocery bill? Eliminating the priciest edibles from your list (such as meat, convenience items, snacks and alcohol) and preparing the majority of your meals from scratch would both be helpful efforts, as would growing a vegetable garden and canning/freezing the fruits of your labor… but there’s a far simpler solution.
How about cutting food waste right at the source? Those who think nothing of plunking leftover salad greens in the garbage can or allowing perfectly good produce to grow funky-looking fungal colonies inside the crisper drawer, these food conservation ideas are ripe for the pickin’:
Image via Christina Welsh
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