What do you do with 12 pounds of summer squash when you live by yourself? Are you a little weirded out by bruised fruit or confusing food labels? There is no doubt it takes time and commitment to get creative in the kitchen, knowing when it’s time to prepare that kitchen sink meal or get those leftovers in the freezer (and then remember that they are there in the first place)!
I am very excited to join the City Fruit team and share my first blog entry, a reflection of past experiences and growth! Food waste prevention is something that I have been passionate about for many years and it is thrilling for me to see how the platform for this issue has changed just in the last year. Personal food waste is typically needless waste, and there are many ways that I have trained myself to be more conscientious of my consumption patterns. I am not alone in this effort, so it’s a major step toward change for our local, national, and global communities that people are finally coming together to share their commitment, journeys, and ideas for respecting and appreciating our edible resources.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to work on an organic farm in New York State that served a community of children attending school on site. This gave me obvious, tangible connections to my food resources – the immense amount of time and effort it takes to plant, grow, and harvest, pest management, preparedness and planning, ad infinitum. This cultivated a real sense of joy and accomplishment through eating nourishing foods in season, but it is also a challenge!
For this #NoWasteWednesday, I would love to hear from our community about the tricks you use at home for preventing food waste. I would also encourage you to start tracking what you waste! For the past eight months, I have made a commitment to monitoring – to the best of my ability – what edibles I throw away. This includes eating out in restaurants (soggy French fries) or the cheese that was shoved in the back drawer of my fridge. Eyeball what you’re composting and log it in whatever measurement makes sense for you (cups, food scale) – perhaps on a handy sheet on your fridge door – and add it up at the end of each month. You can step it up a notch and divide and conquer by the food pyramid. I know that I personally waste more dairy than any other food group.
Our national waste per person in the United States is estimated at over 20 pounds of food PER MONTH. Experiment and see where you line up in our national average! Get caught up on the statistics and share the information with your friends and family! Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) wrote this excellent report. It is a few years old, but it largely responsible for today’s national conversation on food waste. Every little bit you recover DOES help! If infographics are your thing, this is also a great resource from NRDC breaking down the facts and tips for food saving!
City Fruit is contributing to food waste recovery through harnessing our existing natural resources and I am proud to join the team! Why let an apple fall on the ground and rot when we can get it into somebody’s kitchen? Makes sense, right? Get motivated! Food waste is a tangible issue with tangible outcomes, and I know we will succeed in this fight toward improved food security, hunger relief, and responsible consumption!
Some possible home monitoring tools include: Still Tasty, Fridge Pal and the Love Food Hate Waste app (formatted for the UK). I haven't used these before but will investigate! There is helpful literature as well including Dana Gunders' book, "Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook" for those just getting acquainted with food-saving.
Please comment below on helpful kitchen sink recipes, ideas, tips, or questions if you’d like more resources!