Tag Archives: food waste

wasting food in a hungry world

Food waste is a matter of life and death.

Wasting food does not directly cause members of our family to die. But, make no mistake, it is a contributing factor.

We daily waste enough food to keep entire families alive. And the saddest part of that is we never even give it a thought.

Wasting food in a world of hunger is one more sign of our lack of community and our lack of caring for one another.

One step toward ending hunger in our lifetime is to be more mindful of our wasteful patterns of consumption. We all need to waste less food.

only when food is plentiful

I eat what I eat. Don’t make eating complicated. Rules are made only when food is plentiful; in times of famine, one eats what one can get. — Hari Dass

Most of us cannot even conceive of a time when food isn’t plentiful. We are among the blessed of the global family who have always had plentiful food. We are the well-fed minority.

The vast majority of the world knows from painful, and all to often deadly, experience that there are times when food is anything but plentiful. Sometimes food is so scarce that you are forced to watch loved ones suffer a slow and agonizing decline from lack of food. In many parts of the world there is actually a “Hunger Season,” the time before harvest when food is so scarce that prices for basic sustenance climb so high that most cannot afford the luxury of more than a simple meal once a day, if that.

But when food is plentiful we play with it. We get creative with it. We take it for granted. We waste it.

When food is plentiful we become picky eaters. We have so many food choices we continually search for new and more exotic varieties and combinations. We now have an entire entertainment industry focused on food. That can only happen when food is plentiful.

There are many of us that now live to eat rather than eat to live. That can happen only when food is plentiful.

When food is plentiful we could end hunger forever. We could share with those sit in the shadow of famine and create a word where food is available to all.

We can change the world forever by ending hunger in our lifetime. That can happen only when food is plentiful.

the repugnancy of wasting food

Feel what it’s like to truly starve, and I guarantee that you’ll forever think twice before wasting food. – Criss Jami in Killosophy

I do not know what it feels like to starve. But I have been far too close to far too many who do know.

Some sights can never be forgotten. Some images can never be erased. The unspeakable anguish in a mother’e eyes as she watches life slip away from her starving child sears itself into memory for a lifetime.

That’s why wasting food is totally repugnant to me. No, I have never felt what it is like to starve. But I never see food wasted without it tearing at me.

Every mouthful of food is a gift. Wasting food is the height of arrogance. I despise it. It is a ugly demonstration of privilege and lack of community.

I pray for forgiveness every time I have to throw out something from my refrigerator. It doesn’t feed the hungry. I know that. But it does help me be more mindful. It reminds me that I need to live more responsibly and that millions of my family would love to have the food I am wasting.

 

 

the too-sweet smell of rotting food

He looked at the piles of food again, and it was like he was seeing it with new eyes. “This is wrong”, he thought, “Letting food rot while people die of hunger. It’s evil.”….
He breathed in the too-sweet smell of rotting food, “I can stop this evil.

This passage from Margaret Haddix’s book, Among the Enemy, brings back all too vivid memories of the piles of rotting potatoes that were the catalyst for the the Society of Saint Andrew’s “Potato Project.” Once you smell 50-60,000 pounds of decomposing potatoes…well, it’s something that is hard to forget. Let’s just say it sticks with you.

I was privileged to live on Virginia’s Eastern Shore for two years while I was the pastor of the three rural United Methodist Churches that composed the Oak Hall Charge. It was a great two years. My son started first grade there, and one day when he got off the bus he excitedly told me about the enormous piles of potatoes he had seen in the woods during his bus ride home from school. A few days later, as I was out visiting church members I passed by the site and saw the rotting potatoes for myself.

It was actually almost four years later that those tons of rotting spuds manifested themselves into the beginnings of the Potato Project, yet the power of those rotting potatoes remains as strong for me today as it did over 35 years ago. The too-sweet smell of rotting food is an evil that is far too real in a world of hunger and malnutrition.

Reports now show that almost 40% of food grown for human consumption is wasted in the United States. That’s around $165,000,000,000 ($165 BILLION) worth food being wasted every year. “It’s evil…” and we can stop it.

The Society of Saint Andrew’s Potato Project and it’s Gleaning Network are perfect examples of how to help. Since these programs began they have kept billions of servings of nutritious produce from being wasted, and have made sure that produce has reached the plates of the poor and hungry here in the United States.

Working together we can end hunger in our lifetime. Getting rid of the too-sweet smell of rotting food is a good place to start.