Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Food Waste

I just watched the show "The Big Waste" on Food network. The show had 4 chefs, (two teams) find food that was being wasted (either from supermarkets, or farms) - the kind of food no one would buy because it might have a blemish, the wind had blown the crop down, they rummaged through a container of produce, bruising the fruit. Or ordered and then cancelled the order. Scouring grocery aisles, produce farms, orchard lines and garbage piles on the streets of New York City, the chefs were astounded at the things people discarded.

I was amazed. Over 40% of our food is wasted...27 million tons

This makes no sense to me. There are commercials on TV talking about not letting any child go hungry, yet there is a 40% waste of food in this country.

This has nothing to do with how the food is produced... it has to do with Americans having to have the best...
It also has to do with the food regulations which, although keep us safe, they also go overboard.

One person interviewed called himself a "freegan". He has a house, a car and a job. Yet he gets all his food free by checking out the waste that the markets put out to go to the landfill. He got fresh vegetables, quinoa salad and more - enough to fill 2 "suitcases". All free, all good!

The other thing that bothers me is reading about the different foods that come from countries that do not have the regulations. Orange Juice was found to have fungicide not allowed in the US but is allowed in Brazil. About 16.8 percent of the food that Americans eat is imported from other countries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up from 11.3 percent two decades ago. Some fish and seafood comes from other countries - a whopping 86%.

Raw milk is unavailable to a lot of us because of unclean production in the 1800's. The
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) protects your right to provide and obtain raw milk
Makes you think... what can I do about this in my small way.

Well, first off, I think if I grow my own food, or as much of it as I can I can control the waste. Simply by feeding the waste to the animals I have will save me money and feed the animals in a much healthier way.

I think building a root cellar to store the excess will be a great way to help keep food. If I buy an abundance of carrots, potatoes, apples from the store, or from a farm, I can keep the food longer in the root cellar.

Instead of choosing only the best looking produce - if I am going to cook the produce, the taste is the same whether it has a bruise on it or not. In the past, I have stopped at a farm in Ohio and gotten tomatoes for canning. They are not pretty, but getting them canned before we eat them fresh is always a challenge,. They taste just as good as the pretty perfect ones.

If your cheese gets a hard crust, grate it and all it to a casserole. It will melt and you'll never notice the difference.

Buy the bread that is considered "day old". (Or make your own to save money)

Being frugal by nature, it annoys me to see such waste. I watch my grocery bill to keep it the lowest possible (I am writing a frugal cookbook on how I fed my family of 5 for $20 a week and how I can still do that today for $50 a week).
I catch rainwater to water my animals and do my laundry. I try to hang my laundry as much as I can to save on the electricity a dryer costs.

I re-use and re-purpose everything I can.I know this blog has sort of turned out to talk more about frugality, but I think that goes hand in hand with waste.

So... here are a few quick ideas.

You can't grow a garden anywhere? Try just a flower pot. Get some cherry tomato plant. (Sometimes you can find what is called patio plants) You can plant them in a margarine tub until they get bigger, then get a pail.

Buy the fruit or vegetables that aren't "perfect"

Get meat that is close to expiration and eat it that night.

Re-use what you have. I save tin foil and bags to re-use (unless they have touched raw meat).

So, it's time for everyone to do their part.