10 Mile Diet

Food Waste – the problem and possibility

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I talked yesterday with Dana Frasz, founder of FoodShift. Here’s how they describe the problem:

wasted resources
Food waste squanders water, depletes soil, wastes fossil fuels, and adds greatly to the world’s carbon footprint. 25% of all fresh water consumed in the U.S. is used to produce food that is ultimately wasted and 300 million barrels of oil are used each year to produce food that is ultimately wasted.
toxic results
Almost all uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills where it accounts for almost 15 percent of U.S. methane emissions. Methane is twenty one times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
costly problem
Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year in food and it is costing and additional $750 million just for disposal. The average family of four throws out around $2,200 in food each year.

Add to this data the fact that agriculture accounts for about 14% of the greenhouse gasses – and that may not include transportation to market (will check!).

We equate the changing climate with transportation, seeking solutions from high mpg cars to carpooling, to bicycling. Yet agriculture is not – yet- the focus of our attention, creativity and strategies for change. Clearly eating less meat helps, but until we talk about small and mid scale regional agriculture as the future of food, we aren’t talking.

And look at the cost of wasted food: $2200/year/family of 4. That’s over $6 a day. How might we spend that $6 if we didn’t throw food away? Could we pay more for organic food, both fresh and processed. Could we pay for healthier cereals and breads? 

These days I’m seeing how our food choices are part of a system. Not JUST less meat. Not JUST less waste. But how do less meat and less waste link – and by doing both, what other benefit comes?


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