Did you know that US households, retailers, and food distributors waste about 40 million tons of food each year? The amount of food we waste could easily be used to feed many people suffering from hunger and poverty in the United States and all around the world. Wasted food comes with wasted water for irrigation. The wasted water would be enough to supply everyone in the world with 200 liters of water each day. Moreover, 10% of the greenhouse gases are produced from food waste. Food waste comes with other types of energy and fuel that is wasted from transporting, storing, and processing the food. Our food travels approximately 1500 miles on average through trucks and aircraft before reaching our table.
Food produced in the United States is more than enough to feed its population. In fact, the food produced in the United States, according to the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN), exceeds that of the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Italy, and Germany combined.
Donations and Recovery
Donating food for human consumption reduces food waste and puts food on the tables of families that need it. It has been estimated that there are about 50 million American families who live with food insecurities, including a quarter of children under the age of six. The recent economic downturn has made many US families face economic hardships. They are turning to 33,500 support agencies such as food shelves, pantries, cupboards, closets, or food banks across America to help feed their families with food crisis.
Most of these food pantries or soup kitchens rely on donations from retailers, agencies, and individuals. Instead of throwing away food and filling up landfill space, American families and businesses can donate non-perishable and any unspoiled food to soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters, to support people who are facing financial difficulties.
The article, “Food for the Needy – The Story of AmpleHarvest.org,” describes that moving information rather than food can actually address the hunger problem in the United States more effectively. There are farmers and gardeners who have an abundant amount of harvest and food who do not know what to do with it. Food banks and soup kitchens can solve this problem effectively.
Organizations reducing food waste
We have compiled a list of 5 organizations that work with food chains, restaurants, schools, farms, and other nonprofit organizations. These organizations make sure that the hard labor of farmers, the energy, and the resources that go into producing food in the United States are not wasted.
1. City of Austin’s Zero Waste Initiative: In order to minimize food waste and save landfill space, City Council of Austin has supported the ordinance anonymously. This requires all restaurants over 5000 square feet of area to separate all compostable waste from other waste.
2. DC Central Kitchen: In 2011, DC Central Kitchen provided over 2 million meals to the needy people in DC from some 816,000 pounds of food that they collected from DC that year.
3. Food Recovery Network: A group of students at the University of Maryland decided to take initiative to distribute cafeteria leftovers to soup kitchens and shelters.
4. The Postharvest Education Foundation: This program is dedicated to mentoring and teaching farmers through e-learning programs to prevent food loss.
5. AmpleHarvest.org: This organization believes in moving information instead of food to diminish hunger and malnutrition in America. It makes information available for gardeners and farmers to inform them about where they can donate their surplus food.
Food is the very basic need for a human being to survive, and it is especially essential for proper development and growth for younger generations. If children suffer from malnutrition, they cannot grow to their full potential and their physical and mental growth maybe underdeveloped. On one hand we have millions of families in the United States suffering from food insecurities and on the other hand we have millions of tons of food being wasted. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We’d love to hear from you about the food wastage in the United States and how we can minimize it. Please leave a comment below in the comment box.
Source: Nourish The Planet