Food Waste Free October

Recently I came across this challenge introduced by 1 Million Women on IG: #FoodWasteFreeOctober.

If you are not aware, food waste is a horrendous global problem. We throw food away that is not pretty enough at farm level as supermarkets refuse it. We are obsessed with best-before-dates. We have forgotten the art of canning and preserving to make our food last longer, and to use up everything we have.

I remember stories of my grandparents describing how they would use every last bit of a pig carcass. Things did not go to waste back then. It was war-time. They had to make every last piece count because they did not know when they would run out.

Today, food waste is a huge source of emissions; food rots in the landfill and cannot decompose naturally, creating a potent gas called methane. Poor transportation and harvesting techniques contribute to food being wasted. We buy too much, and let things rot on our own shelves at home. Never mind just the food being wasted – we are wasting resources: nutrients in the soil, water, energy, and fuel.

I remember once seeing my neighbour’s garbage can overflowing. As I looked more closely, it was filled with food. Bags of potatoes, bread, and buns filled up an entire can. I was disgusted. Locally, the RDEK conducted a composition study in 2016 to see what was being thrown into landfill. Nearly THIRTY PERCENT was organic food waste. You would think everyone had enough.

Yet, we absolutely know there are people around the world dying of starvation, like the famine crisis in Yemen, and food shortages in Venezuela. And I think… I was scared when we were in lockdown because I would go to the grocery store and the shelves would be empty. Families around the world are experiencing hunger, fear, and death every single day. And meanwhile we are throwing away ugly potatoes.

I’m not saying we can fix that in a day. But how we are currently treating agriculture and food is completely unsustainable, and dangerous. And one person is never helpless.

These kinds of challenges are necessary to create awareness. Are you aware of how much food you waste? What about your community?

We are very careful in this house about watching for spoiling produce, not buying too much at once, and using our freezer and canning abilities to preserve food that may otherwise spoil. We get creative with leftovers, use up what we have, reuse, and otherwise compost our food waste.

With the pandemic following us around, many people have jump-started gardening at home. There are many ways you can use what you grow: harvest get-togethers, trying your hand at canning, dehydrating, or making big-batch soups, and meals. Donating to the food bank, or food recovery programs (Cranbrook Food Recovery, Cranbrook Food Action Committee), and sharing it with people in your community, like schools or family programs.

If you cannot compost, maybe there is a community compost, friend, school, or other program that could help you with that. There are also apps that can connect you with local composting options, like ShareWaste. My sister, for example, keeps a bucket in her freezer for organic material, and brings it to my backyard compost whenever she comes by.

There are also many social media accounts dedicated to sharing their knowledge on using food to the best of our ability, including The Zero Waste Chef, Max La Manna, and Love Food Hate Waste. What are your favourites? Please share the inspo below!

Join the challenge, have fun with it, and be grateful for the food. Eat the food. Share the food. There IS someone in your community that is going without today. And if you see major food waste being committed by a local restaurant or store, get into contact with them.

How do you love food and hate waste? Please share.

Resources:

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-reducing-waste/municipal-solid/greenhouse-gases.html

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/20/health/global-food-waste-higher/index.html

https://engage.rdek.bc.ca/solid-waste-management-plan-review

http://1millionwomen.nationbuilder.com/foodwastefreeoctober

Just Eat It: a food waste story documentary (2014)

http://www.yemenfamine.com/

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/venezuelas-food-crisis-reaches-a-breaking-point

5 comments

  1. Great post, Sissy! Food waste sucks! In this house we create a weekly meal plan and base our grocery list around that. Food very rarely gets wasted this way. Even bananas, which always brown (or black) at my house, find themselves in my freezer to be used up for banana bread or a nice coco-banana pudding. One thing that does find its way into the garbage can sometimes, is the last few slices of bread which end up moulding before we can eat it. Any tips how to make bread last longer that doesn’t involve freezing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Yes! Meal planning is another great way to lessen food waste. Bread – yes. So, yes, I freeze my loaves until we use them, or I will cut them in half, freeze half, and keep the other in the fridge (we do not eat that much bread). The ends of the bread get used for any recipe that requires bread crumbs (casserole, burgers, chicken, etc), and you can keep that crumbled in a glass jar (let them go stale first). Or you can freeze the ends until you need them, bake them into croutons, or make bread pudding if you have that much.

      Liked by 1 person

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