Fueling Food: Earth Day Opportunity

96 billion pounds per year = $136 billion/annually,

11 million pounds per hour,

3,000 pounds per second

of food is wasted in the U.S.

One Third

“North American consumers make more food waste than anyone else on the planet. But there’s an upside to that:

Just about any improvement will mean progress.”

~ Monica Eng, Diving into the food waste problem

We can seek solutions on so many fronts: home, school, work, restaurants, grocery, retail, production, transportation. What if instead, these entities banded together to address the problem across a system?

A simple ask for change followed in the 2010 documentary Dive details Jeremy Seifert’s exploration of L.A. grocery dumpsters and the policies in place that lead to such waste. Taking a daring stand, feeding his young family a primarily dumpster-based diet, Seifert exposes specifically the practices of Trader Joe’s that leads to bountiful nightly waste.

“Forfeit your sense of awe, let your conceit diminish your ability to revere, and the universe becomes a marketplace for you”

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Turning the brokenness of the food system on its head by living off its waste, Seifert makes an important statement about the ramifications of collective corporate decisions and the potential for consumer impact upon awareness. While past & present efforts driving change exist, a unified stance will be required to turn the tide in the hearts of consumers and the minds of corporations. Sharing is caring and today, on Earth Day, with future generations in mind, may we hope, ask for & actively seek change, individually & collaboratively.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

~ The Lorax


4 responses

  1. hear, hear! I love this. I am one of those people that shops every day and only buys what I need for one or two meals. I found over the years that so many times I would go the store, stock up for the week and end up throwing out so much food for a variety of reasons ( spoilage, leaving town,went out to eat ). I learned over the past few years to just shop for truly what I need. My fridge is painfully bare sometimes, not because I cannot buy food rather I buy what I need and eat it until everything is gone. What happens if everyone did this ,and we were not so attached to the full-fridge look and having options all the time? What would our number look like then?

  2. I’m curious how many grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, or other food establishments are tackling this challenge to truly eliminate waste. It seems that most of these businesses end up throwing away a LOT of food. What if they implemented lean into their supply chain? Had food available JIT? How can they work with farmers to get them the income they need without their crops going to waste? Would this be solved if everyone just partnered with their local farmers? So much to ponder!

  3. First of all, I love the visuals that you add to your blogs.

    I was also realizing that as people talk about foodwaste, there is a much bigger picture then just the food. There are so many resources (water, oil, etc.) that go into the production of the food that we eat. So why do we talk about food being wasted as # of pounds? Is there a more inclusive measure that we can use to help mainstream understand the other wastes?

  4. Love the images and videos you embedded into the blog!

    Food waste is a HUGE problem, as you’ve outlined, and living off waste is an interesting way to address it. While a fascinating idea, it seems to be more of a symptoms focused solution than an root issue solution. And while “it’s all good work,” it would need to be adopted on a very large scale to have any real impact. What are the major strengths of this idea and how effective do you think it is?What do you think are the major barriers to wide spread adoption?

    Echoing Jen, what systemic changes could help address this problem – from the producers, from the distributors, to the retailers?

    I’m curious – would you dumpster dive? 🙂

    Great post!

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