A fellow food blogger from Saskatoon posted an article on Facebook a while ago about food waste. Being a foodie not just includes making, eating, photographing and enjoying food, it also includes reading and educating oneself about food. Where it comes from, how it is produced, how techniques work and also what will happen if it is not bought or not used.
The article itself is from February 2011, here is the link. However, I don’t believe that much has changed in those one and half year since the article was written. I don’t want to say that I am much better with keeping food and using food than the average Canadian. I am sure that I throw out more than I should but probably less then many others. One thing though that greatly upsets me is that I have no way of composting my food scraps.
I live in a condo and thus we have one giant blue trash bin. It’s one of those that fit on the back of a big truck. That’s where all and every trash goes, we barely recycle and that really annoys me. If I would be able to compost I could make my own soil to plant my flowers, tomatoes, and bell peppers in the spring.
However, the articles rather emphasizes on the good food people throw out because they bought too much, or didn’t use it after all, didn’t know what to do with it and so on. Not just that, people also waste food when they go to the restaurant and don’t take the left overs. We always take left overs home because most of the time the meal we received was just way too much. At Boston Pizza a Jambalaya noodle dish for example could feed three people. Why would I waste that food if I paid for it?
Unfortunately, there seems to be little data on the issue here in North American, and as the articles says, the UK is many years ahead in that area. They have already conducted a significant amount of research and implemented various solutions although it doesn’t really say specifically how those look like.
I believe a change in mentality is important. Many people view food as cheap, which is no wonder considering 2 liters of coke sells for $1 or $2. But real food, good food that sustains a healthy body doesn’t come as cheap as those subsidized items. Even then it seems cheap because it is available all the time. Our mentality needs to change from that cheap, we-can-waste it to there-is-a-lot-of-work-in-it and should be bought and used carefully.
Above all, people need to inform themselves better, which is not difficult nowadays. The internet can provide you with so many information that it is easy to find what suits you. Of course there is no on-fits-all solution but things can be adapted if you are willing to do so. Remember, even small things can change a lot. You have a zucchini left and no clue what to do with it? Simply google “zucchini recipe” and you will get a huge number of answers. (27,400,000 results to be precise.)
You can also search on how to store your food better so that it won’t go bad. You can look for the season in which a specific food item will be at its best. For example, asparagus is a vegetable that is best between April and June and that’s the time when you want to buy it. Yes, you still can buy it in November, but that’s not the season for it so why bother? Or rhubarb for example, no longer than the end of June, maybe a bit into July if you have a later growing season like we have in Canada. The same holds true for other vegetables and fruits but we buy them out of convenience at any time. I admit, I also buy citrus fruits in summer time when they are actually in season in the winter time.
We might not be able to stop Food Waste completely but I believe we can reduce it to a minimum. Are you willing to help?