Reducing waste can help feed the hungry

Four billion tons of food are grown and raised worldwide every year. About 25% of that goes to waste.


    1. Having worked in a donut bakery during college, this is sadly untrue. (Might be true for these fancy “doughuts”, though.) We dumped out trash bags full of uneaten goodies every day. I wish the owner had donated all of that. Seriously, if you want free dessert, check the dumpsters of your local bakery. 

  1. Go to a restaurant and order a burger.. ask for half as many fries as they’d normally give you. Enjoy the “what the heck just happened and what do I do about it” look that appears on the person serving you.

    I’d be really, really happy if restaurants would cut down on servings instead of sending me home with a bag full of leftovers that will barely be edible after it molders in my fridge for a day. 

  2.  In the US, the wrong foods are subsidized too much. Gluten intolerant folk pay too much for safe food, while cheap subsidized grain poisons most stuff on the shelf. When these subsidies dictate what’s grown on the farm, there’s no market incentive to experiment with crops that do well in the coming climate. Subsidized cheap oil makes it cost effective to ship stuff cross country, increasing the carbon footprint and obscuring any sort of cultural connection with our local agriculture.

     This may seem irrelevant, but think about it for a bit: Housing prices are kept artificially high. We’ve got a glut of empty housing that we can’t afford to take advantage of. If housing were cheaper, we could afford to put more of our household income into food. Paying more for food could empower a safer, more diverse, more local food supply.

     Oh, who am I kidding?  Nabisco and General Foods would never go for it. A functional political system would have to come before any of this other stuff.

    1. Good news for fun-haters everywhere! 

      Sorry, I shouldn’t be so snide. But Soylent strikes me as the most depressing lifestyle ever. I actually like eating and like food.

      1. You should read his blog.  He makes dozens of great points.  It’s definitely not for everyone but it’s also not a lifestyle.  He still goes out to eat with friends but when it’s just him feeding himself he uses his product.  Kind of the best of both worlds (in my opinion).

  3. Can it help feed the hungry though?  The reason people go hungry is because of economics right? If I purchase just the right amount of food and never throw any away, that doesn’t mean that a starving person will get that extra food. 

    Not that people should be wasting food, but…

      1. Farmers in developing countries can’t compete with artificially low food prices.

        Which does suck, but I don’t think there is a good solution to that problem. The main reason food is artificially low is to solve a separate problem that used to hit even rich countries: famine. We overproduce food because if we tried producing exactly the right amount we need, any disaster that took out a reasonable percentage of crops would mean people start starving and prices for the food that survived would skyrocket.

        1. But much of it is exported and it’s artificially cheap because of subsidies, see corn for example. I don’t think there’s any “just in case” angle that I know of.

    1. A historic Augusta supermarket closed its doors Tuesday morning. […]
      Sheriff Richard Roundtree showed up at the Laney Supermarket to let the
      crowd know that the food would not be given away and that it was being
      hauled off to a landfill. That upset many of the bystanders, who say the
      food is needed in the inner-city Laney-Walker area. Many of them wanted
      to know why the food wasn’t given to a homeless shelter or a food

  4. I appreciate that food waste is, well, waste, but I don’t see any real connection between that and people going hungry.  Much of the waste is in inital overproduction, not what I’m putting in my green bin after dinner.  People going hungry is not a problem of production, and certainly not one of waste.

    It’s a problem of distribution: but that’s not sexy.  We can’t sell you a new product that will fix it.  It’s deeply and fundamentally messy and political.

    In so far as food waste matters to anyone, it matters in terms of wasted carbon involved in the overproduction.

    1.  There’s profit in selling people more food than they need, in selling people more rich food than they need, in selling people weight loss programs after you’ve sold them the fat.

      Market economics are as bad for the food supply as they are for medicine. Some things just don’t belong in the for-profit sector.

  5. My solution for preventing food waste while promoting better eating habits:

    1. Gov’t should subsidize locally grown vegetables and fruit, allowing markets and restaurants free produce.

    2. College students or others should be enlisted, in exchange for scholarships or funds, to run local community cafeterias to teach people how to prepare dishes using fresh produce.

    We have a culture that is enamored with fast and/or frozen foods optimized for shelf life, low in fiber, laced with sugar-salt-grease, that won’t be easily changed with new legislation. The new generation don’t see the irony in considering chicken “nuggets” as a meal choice.

    Mega food conglomerates won’t change their products unless the see the public willing to change their eating habits.

    This investment will go a long way to improving the health of the vast numbers of those with common chronic metabolic diseases, e.g. Syndrome X and diabetes mellitus type II.

    Of course, this will never happen.

    1. 1. Gov’t should subsidize locally grown vegetables and fruit, allowing markets and restaurants free produce.

      Ceasing to subsidize corn would be sufficient.

  6. Yeah, The serving size issue is very true at restaurants.   But a lot of things get thrown away because they are just past the expiration dates, which we could probably eat, but would probably taste bad and potentially make more people sick.

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