Have you ever wonder why certain communities are flooded with endless food choice while others are not sure where their next meals will come from? Why is that?
Dana Gunders, the Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found every sixth American is not warranted a secure food supply. Yet, 40% of edible food is thrown away annually. Similar scenarios are played out worldwide. At the global level, one in every nine persons lack sufficient food to lead a healthy active life, yet one-third of global food goes to waste. As Dana put it, if total food wastage is counted as a nation, it is the third largest carbon footprint contributor after America and China.
While we can blame the incompetent politicians in managing food distribution; the greedy food producers and retailer in jacking up food prices; the bad weather in poor harvest and many other reasons; which by and large are not within our daily control.
So what can we do?
While the scientists and government agencies can search high and low for alternate food sources, we can help by managing our daily diet and grocery list better. What does that mean?
Dana pointed out in her website that Americans are literally throwing away every 4th bag of grocery at a cost of $30 monthly with uneaten food.
It is clear one of the sources of the problem is right in our homes. If every household consciously made an effort to minimize food waste, not only we are doing ourselves a favor with extra money saved, we are extending a much needed helping hand to mother nature by reducing landfill piled up and green gas emission. In addition, fewer demands for food may just drive the food price lower to the benefit of the deprived households.
One of her findings is that people are wasting food due to lack of knowledge and awareness of how detrimental the way we view food as disposable at will. Therefore, the barely eaten sandwich ended up in the dustbin, strawberries left rotten at the back of the fridge, aesthetically imperfect apples are being askew.
In September 2015, Obama administration established the nation’s unprecedented food-waste reduction campaign with a target of halving food waste by 2030. The United Nations announced a similar target a few days later.
Responding to the call to curb wastage, shelf space for less appealing fruits and greens are appearing in grocery stores, appliances are being designed for better food storage, edible food packaging is being actively developed, well-coordinated food donation marketplace is being championed.
However, grocers, farmers, and all other parties involved in the food distribution response according to the demands and attitude of consumers. Without an all-encompassing cultural awareness of treating food as precious life-giving essentials, all the registrations, guidelines, enticements, and technology advancements will not be sufficient to solve the inequality in food distribution.
With better grocery and meal planning, awareness in every man’s responsibility and ability to curb food waste and world hunger, we might just be on the right path.