Jess’ Post: The Food Waste Conversation Continues!

Hello everyone!

This week I’m going to continue to share with you what my friends, family, and colleagues had to say about two more of my food waste questions. Last week focused on what people have done to reduce the amount of food waste they produce and what they believe could be done at the home, town, and governmental level to reduce waste. This week’s questions hone in on why people reduce waste, and how reducing our waste can also reduce problems elsewhere in our lives.


Q 7: Do you think reducing food waste could in turn reduce other problems our country is currently facing? What problems, and how so?

  • “Maybe. We have to buy food. We don’t necessarily have to buy clothes (beyond what we have), toys, etc. Consumerism and being a conscious shopper are tough. So being better about a shopping trip you HAVE to make could influence behavior in other stores (i.e., do I really need another Georgia t-shirt?)”

  • “Reduction in food waste could lead to creating jobs related to its implementation. If we can redistribute food going to waste it would alleviate some issue related to food security/malnutrition (especially in at-risk/low-income demographics)”

  • “Reducing food waste could do good for the environment! Less food in landfills and more food in soil would make for happier plants and animals. It would also reduce hunger and likely help students if food that would typically be wasted went to shelters or  directly to people in need”

  • “Yes. Reducing food waste could end up reducing subsidies to agribusiness (meat, corn, sugar), and could reduce obesity, since otherwise-wasted food could/should be made available in “food deserts”

  • “Yeah, I do think it could. This one was tough, but if EVERYONE was to start composting their unusable scraps there would still be a lot of compost to process and take care of. That could add some jobs. There would also need to be more people educating others, so there’s more more people employed. I also think that landfills would change in character and possibly become smaller, which would be magical. Now that I think about it, reducing food waste wouldn’t change the world overnight but it is indirectly connected to a lot of other environmental and social ills”

I really enjoyed these responses, and love how each answer took a different approach when linking food waste to our other worldly problems. No, reducing food waste will not occur overnight, but as our last response noted, there are small changes that can lead to big changes, and those small steps will eventually be able to make an impact on the other problems we are facing.


Q 8: What do you think are the mains reasons why people waste food?

  • “Time. Fickle tastes. Expiration dates”

  • “A disconnect from the food system. A lack of time. A lack of appreciation for what we have”

  • “I don’t understand why my roommate would rather throw out leftovers than eat it another time. I don’t know why people prefer the looks of food rather than the nutritional value or how they’re wasting something that’s completely edible”

  • “They buy too much at once, then once it is past its expiration date they see it as trash”

  • I think students waste food at the dining halls for many reasons. Some students don’t care, while I think that others may think they have more time than they really do to eat, and thus end up putting a half-finished meal on the carousel on their way to their next commitment”

  • “I think that a lack of education about what you can do with scraps is the main reason…pumpkin seeds [are] a good example, as is a situation like throwing out a roasted chicken carcass versus boiling it with some onion/carrot/celery/etc scraps and making chicken stock out of it. That doesn’t evaporate the bones or anything, but it does get the last of the meat off and really uses everything that’s left. Also, broccoli stems are just as tasty as the top part of the broccoli. After that, I think laziness is next. It can be time consuming to figure out how to make the most of your food if you weren’t raised or taught to do so”

  • “Food is easy to get for the majority of Americans. We take that for granted, so if your bread goes moldy, you just pitch it and buy a new loaf. Not everyone has that option. I also think our portion control is terrible. Restaurants in particular are super guilty. Some of those plates come with a days worth of calories and more food than many people can eat in one sitting. I usually take my leftovers home, but sometimes there isn’t enough left to make a full out of later, but too much for one time. The fries that didn’t make it into my face at the time, end up in a dumpster”

  • “I also think that because of the division in our food system, consumers are so separated from the production and eventual consequences of their actions in all of our consumption and waste even outside of food that it is easy to not see our problems”

  • “People/society wastes food for many reasons. The dependence on restaurants and convenience due to our schedules, super-sized portions, advertising that promotes poor food choices, not teaching boys and girls how to prepare meals and not planning ahead for weekly meals”

  • “I think “we” are spoiled. We have so much access to food, easy, cheap, quick… It’s a necessity that is overly available. “We” generally don’t think of food as a bare minimum necessity… It’s a luxury item often times. If we only ate what we “needed” to survive there would be less waste, but we enjoy excess”

So many great points were brought up in this section. Money, time, laziness, a lack of appreciation, understanding, or education, and being disconnected from our food. Most people don’t know how their food is made. Most people don’t know where their food is from, and most people don’t even seem to think about it. Much of this is due to a lack of education and how our society runs. We on the Seacoast are extremely fortunate to have farmers markets where we are able to get to know our farmers and know how our veggies and meat are grown and raised.

1277426_10201774287309646_257215814_oNow for this weeks food waste challenge. To the participant who believes fries aren’t yummy as leftovers… toss them on a pan in the oven and I promise you they will be as yummy as before! Throw some cheese and peppers on it! Cut them up and throw them on nachos! There are so many possibilities. We have been trained to think that food needs to look a certain way, or that food isn’t good unless you have a recipe. Go out of your comfort zone and try something new! Throw something together and hope for the best! I once made a stir fry with coconut, plum, snap peas, broccoli, fig spread, balsamic, and rice because those are what I had in my fridge. It tasted good! Push yourself. Accept that sometimes it might not taste how you were expecting it to taste. It might even taste kind of ‘blah,’ but realize that it’s still food. You can still eat it, and should. Many people in the world live off of grains or rice. We are extremely privileged when it comes to food (and many many many other things), and we have lost sight of that.

Until next time-


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