Friday, May 27, 2016

Batch of links - Food waste

- Here are some statistics about food waste in America. Did you know that a whopping 40% of food produced is then wasted?

- Here’s a depressing short film about the sad life of a strawberry, from

- Roughly 26% of produce is wasted before it even hits store shelves because it is deemed “ugly”. I think it would make more sense for grocers to sell it at a discount or donate it, assuming consumers won’t buy it as is. That being said, there’s actually evidence that ugly produce may be more nutritious.

- A college student has created an app that helps prevent food waste by connecting donors with people and organizations in need. In its first year, it saved 4,000 pounds of food from being wasted. Pretty impressive!

- In New York City, there’s a program called Rescuing Leftover Cuisine that matches restaurants with charities to prevent food waste. According to that article, a staggering 40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste each year. (Also, many restaurant owners are not aware of legislation in place that protects food donors from legal liability, except in cases of gross negligence; once they know about it, they are much more likely to give their unwanted leftovers to charitable organizations.)

- Suzy DeYoung has started La Soupe in Cincinnati, where she and her staff collect unsellable produce and make it into soup to feed the food-insecure.

- The town of Galdakao, in Spain, has a Solidarity Fridge where people can leave extra food and others can take what they need. There are rules (like anything homemade must be labeled with a date and thrown out after four days; no raw meat, fish or eggs) and volunteers clean the fridge as needed. It is such a success that other towns are following suit.

- Food waste is driving climate change.

- John Oliver had a great in-depth piece about food waste, including causes and possible solutions.

- France passed a law last year stating that supermarkets must donate unsold (but still edible) food to charities instead of throwing it away or destroying it. It also introduces a food waste program in schools and businesses to help curb waste in places other than supermarkets. Some critics of the law say that the real problem is overproduction, but I still think this is an awesome development.

- Dan Barber wants you to eat smarter, waste less. This article also talks about the honeynut squash, which is basically like a butternut, but with twice the flavor at half the size. You see, when farmers are asked to develop new types of vegetables, they are usually asked to make them contain more water, which makes them bigger and heavier (and therefore maximize profits, as produce is sold by weight and water is cheap). But this makes the vegetables bland. Dan Barber asked a farmer to develop a squash that would taste really good, and the farmer said it was the first time anyone had asked him to use taste as a criterion! I’d love to get my hands on one of those honeynut squashes…

- Finally, here are some tips to cut down on food waste in our households. Personally, I’m pretty good at not wasting ingredients – meaning that I plan a weekly menu that will use up ingredients I already have before they go bad, and we rarely deviate from the grocery list. However, I do throw out some prepared food now, mainly if the Little Prince doesn’t finish his plate. (I used to eat it so that it wasn’t wasted, but I ended up eating more than I needed and put on weight, so the best solution for me at this point is throwing out food that won’t be eaten. I wish we had a solidarity fridge in the neighborhood!)

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