Sustainability in the kitchen—who said tackling food waste can’t be fun? It's time we make some conscious food choices together!
Let’s taco-bout food waste. This action pack is inspired by a blog post from Noopur Gosalia, a Soapbox community member and founder of the RLC (Rescuing Leftover Cuisine) Seattle chapter. This is her below!
Here’s what we’ll cover step-by-step:
It’s time we make some conscious food choices together. Don’t worry, we’re rooting for you! 🥔
🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40% of food in the United States is wasted while 1 in 8 Americans struggle to put food on the table. How do both of these issues co-exist?
Here's what we learned from Feeding America:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It is important to know that though hunger and food insecurity are closely related, they are distinct concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level.
You’ll also learn:
That’s not all—there are also economic and environmental impacts of food waste.
Here are some key highlights:
So, in summary—there's more than enough food to feed the world, making food waste the world's dumbest problem. It's time to find local solutions to this global problem.
Want more facts? Check out Noopur's blog post and scour the ReFed website for shareable content. You can also check out this graphic above from ReFed. They have a bunch more digestible graphics and food waste info on their website. The more aware we are, the more equipped we’ll be to tackle this issue!
🏁 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.
By 2050, we're going to need to increase our global food production by 50% if we want to feed the new 2.2 billion humans we're anticipating to welcome. However, we simply do not have the resources to do that.
* Cue mass species extinction *
Just kidding. Actually, we’re not kidding, but we do know there's something we can do about our impending doom: waste less food. That butt-end of the bread we all hate? Saving it may just save the human race. #TeamButt.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves. This podcast episode is actually not about the extinction of the human race; it's about community and fun and beer! As Tristram Stuart said, "If you want to change the world, throw a better party than the people destroying it."
To kick off our party, here's a 30 minute episode on how we can solve food waste from Solvable, a podcast to understand how world leaders think and tackle global challenges.
Over 50% of food waste comes from households. Tristram talks about how food waste is a problem we can all solve in our homes and how we can do it by drinking beer. This is not a drill.
You’ll learn that:
If you want to know more about how solvable this problem is, we recommend another episode, "Food Waste and Climate Change" by Deliciously Ella. The hosts interviewed Tessa Clarke, a co-founder of Olio.
Here are the highlights of this episode:
We usually only share one podcast per action pack, but the topic is too important and urgent to ignore—especially if we’re peeling all the layers to this issue. 🍌
🏁 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!
1. Take the expiration date with a grain of salt.
Expiration dates are just the best guess by manufacturers on how long the food should last—it’s not always accurate. Confusion around “best by”, “sell by”, and “use by” dates cause Americans to throw away approximately $29 billion worth of safe food per year.
2. Freeze! Everything!
Okay, not everything...but you know all those herbs you buy and never use? Those can be frozen. Here's a USDA database that helps you understand how long your food and drinks will last after freezing. Bookmark it!
3. Make habitual changes in your food practices.
For example, when going grocery shopping, don’t overcompensate for the amount of food you need, make a list beforehand! If your recipe calls for one onion, just buy that! You can always buy more later. This will limit the amount of food that expires in your fridge that you have to end up tossing.
4. Consider donating to an organization that bridges the gap between food waste and food insecurity.
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine is an organization that leverages a volunteer system to pick up leftover food from restaurants and donates it to places in need. They have different options for you to donate (via credit card, paypal, check, even bitcoin!) that make it easy to give back.
5. Volunteer at a local food bank or try to do a food rescue yourself.
6. Buy wonky produce.
Humans aren’t the only ones that come in different shapes and sizes! Produce does too. Consider ordering groceries from Imperfect Foods to make sure that foods that look a little different don’t get left behind.
Not only is it easy, but it also establishes you as morally righteous when someone comes over and you can direct them to put food waste in your compost. Bonus points if you make your own.
8. Get your company involved.
Consider talking to your company’s leadership about entering the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion, where they can commit to reducing food loss within your organization by 50%. You can find the application here.
Just a simple search of "what can I do with leftover X?" opens up a whole new world. Keep reading for recipes!
Here’s also some recipes on how to waste less by making more
Bonus: There is literally a whole article on how to waste less lettuce. It's got five tips including salad substitutes like thawed frozen peas, canned corn, and fresh basil from your own lil plant. The possibilities are endless!
🏁 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?
Here’s a company called Ends + Stems that has an awesome template for a food waste audit.
Click the photo below to open up the template for the food waste audit! It's super simple, only takes a week, and can save you lots of money, depending on how much your household throws away each week.
All you have to do is pick a week, print the sheet (or make your own), and get your household on board. Easy peasy! Ends + Stems also has a "what's in your fridge" recipe finder. You don't even have to Google your own recipes!
Who said tackling food waste can’t be fun?
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
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