If you’re like me, you probably grew up with parents that made you finish whatever was on your plate and they probably also told you some sob story about a child starving in Africa to guilt you into compliance. As I grew up this stopped working on me, particularly as over eating and the damage to my waistline became more of a concern. Plus, I knew that finishing my plate wasn’t exactly giving food to anyone else who might be starving.
My parents hated seeing food get wasted and they tried really hard to make sure that we appreciated all that we had and ate all the we were given. The method of my parents was flawed but the message they were trying to convey was surprising spot on. Wasting food hurts everyone! According to Feed the Children, “somewhere between 30 to 40 percent of the United States’ food supply is wasted.”
Every year, 40% of food goes to waste in this country. 20 billion pounds of that is produce that’s lost before it ever leaves the farm.Hungry Harvest
After years of working in the agricultural production space, much of that time in African countries, I have become starkly aware of how imbalanced our food system is. From production, to processing, to consumption, there is waste all along the food chain.
According to a January 2020 report by the Economic Research Service of the USDA, the following are only a few factors in the food supply chain that lead to wasted nourishment. (Source: Chicago Sun Times)
- Price fluctuations: When prices for produce fall below the cost growers must pay to get the food to market, they may choose to leave the food unharvested.
- Labor costs and availability: If growers can’t find or afford labor, especially for harvesting, they again may choose to leave their crops unharvested.
- Food quality or expectations: Food buyers, such as restaurants and supermarkets, may reject food that doesn’t meet their requirements for appearance or other quality.
As a conscientious consumer, I try to do my part to reduce waste. One of the ways I do this is by purchasing salvaged produce from services like Hungry Harvest. Hungry Harvest is a farm to doorstep produce delivery service on a mission to end food waste & hunger. Every delivery rescues at least 10 lbs of fruits & veggies.
We rescue this fresh & delicious produce whose only crime is being a little off-size, off-color, a little ugly or a little overproduced at 3 points in the supply chain – at the farm, packing house & wholesaler.Hungry Harvest
Other sustainable food sources.