Farmers are forced to throw away mountains of food—why? Here's an overview of the coronavirus's impact on food.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
We were inspired to write about food waste and loss because of one of our new favorite newsletters: Below the Fold. They cover important stories that don't make the headlines—like this topic. About 1/3 of food that is produced globally is wasted. This issue only got worse during COVID-19. How do our systems play a role in exacerbating this problem and how can we act as individuals?
Here's what we'll cover step-by-step:
But first, a request: email us and tell us how COVID has changed your relationship with food. This doesn't have to be related to sustainability unless it's relevant to you — We're just curious!
Now let's plow through! 🚜
🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
When we wrote about holiday food waste last year, we discovered a 2016 article claiming turkey—just Thanksgiving turkey—is expected to have an annual waste amount of 200 million pounds. It's $293 million bucks in food waste. So please, gobble it before it gobbles the landfills.
Quick recap from last year's Action Pack on why food waste matters:
How has food waste has gotten worse during COVID? (Foodprint)
We're in such a food mess because of extractive capitalism. Government policies condone food monopolies so our food production is controlled by a handful of corporate executives, who are incentivized to over-produce food. (The Guardian).
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.
🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.
Is there a way to feed our whole population while preserving our planet? Below is a 2-min video on sustainable food production.
You'll learn that:
Agrofood and energy smart systems can help reduce these impacts and create a more sustainable food chain. However, we need governments to help us transition into more sustainable agriculture. Don't fret—there are multiple actions we can take to reduce food waste from our homes.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.
🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!
Yes, capitalism and food monopolies left us in this mess; but, here's what you can do to fight food waste. Pick 1-2 that work best for you:
1. Donate $5 monthly to CIWF and make one of the most high-impact donations possible.
If you don't already know, Effective Altruism combines the most effective ways you can make a difference. One of their top causes for donations is animal welfare, and they've highlighted Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). They've successfully passed cage-free egg policies at the largest grocery stores in the world; you can read more about their impact and donate here. Give $5 monthly!
2. Plan your meals intentionally.
Write down all your meals for the week in a notebook and what ingredients you need. If this isn't your thing, use Ends + Stems for zero-waste meal plans. They even give you recipes when you tell them 2 ingredients you have in your fridge!
3. Start your own backyard garden.
Here's a quick guest post by Pangolin.Green explaining how it's actually a lot easier and cheaper than it seems. We learned that you can even turn food scraps into lil crops! If you've already started a COVID garden, tag us @soapboxproject on Instagram. Garden pics make me smile.
4. Save the tiny bites of food you have left.
We seriously have tiny Tupperwares (this pack is 9 bucks) to save the last morsels of food we couldn't finish and we ALWAYS eat it the next day. It's like a fun treat for future you!
5. Drink butts.
Toast Ale turns bread butts into beer! Perfect for holiday gifting, too.
6. Reorganize your fridge every two weeks until you stop wasting food.
This will help you keep track of what's in your fridge and what ingredients you really need.
Add this reminder to your calendar by clicking the button below. You can also click the image.
We also highly recommend checking out the food waste actions we published in December 2019 for 9 more actions and 3 recipes. The recipes were inspired by an IG poll of what our readers said they wasted most of.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.
Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!
🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?
It's alarming to think there's a food waste problem given our planet's grouping population. National Geographic's 5-step plan on how we're going to feed 9 billion people says, "By 2050 we’ll need to feed two billion more people. How can we do that without overwhelming the planet?"
Five-step plan, with two actions you can take at the end:
We hope this Action Pack helped you be more conscious about your relationship with food and what you can do to reduce food waste from the comfort of your homes.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
Check out our membership community for more resources like free weekly events with social justice experts, sustainable product discounts, pre-written email templates, a social impact job board, and in-person hangouts with new friends. Thanks for taking action with Soapbox Project!
Get our free bite-sized climate action plans before you go!