“Cutting food waste is a delicious way of saving money, helping to feed the world and protect the planet.” — Tristram Stuart, UK based author, speaker, expert, and campaigner on environmental and social impacts of food.
Mountains of food go to waste every single day all across our world, leaving people hungry and malnourished, squandering labor and resources, and resulting in mass production of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to the worsening climate crisis. In fact, methane is 8 to 36 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Statements from the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit affirmed that reducing food waste is a better way to reduce carbon emissions than planting trees or building solar facilities. Limiting food waste is a crucial factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will ensure a habitable, sustainable future.
Elevated food waste is problematic for many reasons, compounded by the burden it poses to our planet. Wasting food wastes everything that went into making it: energy for cultivation, water for irrigation and washing, labor at all levels of production, fuel for agriculture and transportation, money spent to purchase what never gets eaten – all wasted!
Food insecurity is defined by Feeding America as a “lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle,” closely linked to food waste. Each year 72 billion pounds of food that could feed the hungry goes to waste in the United States alone. The issue of food insecurity disproportionately affects rural, Black, Indigenous, and other POC communities, often a result of food apartheid and food deserts, areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food due to systemic racism, including redlining and gentrification. Before the pandemic hit the United States, food insecurity was at its lowest since the Great Recession, yet still over 37 million Americans experienced food insecurity, including 11 million children. However, due to COVID-19 and school closures, more than 54 million people, including 18 million children, across the country are projected to experience food insecurity. Globally, the number of individuals facing severe hunger with detrimental and deadly consequences is projected to increase from 135 million to 265 million.
Food justice is a “holistic and structural view of the food system that sees healthy food as a human right and addresses structural barriers to that right,” as defined by our partner FoodPrint. Just like environmental injustice, lower-income BIPOC communities are most affected by systemic inequities. The closely related food sovereignty movement focuses on community workers, such as farmers, fishers, and Indigenous peoples disproportionately affected by hunger and poverty. Everyone has a right to nourishing, culturally appropriate food and to define, safeguard and control their own food systems. The goal should always be to produce fresh, local nutritious food sustainably, while supporting small farms in the area. Due to COVID-19, our farmers need support more than ever, heroes on the front lines who face ongoing, acute health risks to feed all of us.
Today’s partners are rising to lead the charge. U-Konserve provides reusable and zero waste food storage options that help consumers eat well and reduce food waste. U-Konserve proudly partners with companies and restaurants to implement reusable containers instead of disposables, so food can easily be stored and eaten later. Foodprint is working tirelessly to educate about the benefits of sustainable food production, and help us elevate our voices to make positive change in the food system and beyond. Food Tank raises consumer and institutional awareness to inform and propose actionable steps to help people reduce food waste and start to heal our broken food system.
Food waste is a complex problem, and the process of getting food from farm to table is far more complicated than one would think. Every step comes at significant cost to farmers, consumers, resources and the earth. COVID-19 has proven to be a major test for current agricultural systems, exacerbating many existing flaws, inequities, and other issues.
Post a clear, concise statement about what YOU will do to combat food waste on Instagram and/or Twitter, tagging @TurningGreenOrg, @UKonserve, @FoodprintOrg and @FoodTank with #PGC2020. Let’s make food waste history together!
Upload a PDF Document with your responses and screenshot of your social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
Avoiding food waste is a great way to save money while lessening your individual impact on the environment. Pre-planning weekly meals and tailoring shopping lists accordingly minimizes waste because you buy only what you need and use it before anything goes bad. It also saves money because you are utilizing everything you purchase and avoiding unnecessary costs!
Visit Save the Food to look through resources. Create a clever and informative way to share this important information about reducing food waste with friends and family! Things to consider:
Post your creation on social media, along with a call for others to do their part to reduce food waste! Tag @TurningGreenOrg in the image and caption with #SaveTheFood and #PGC2020.
Upload a PDF Document with your responses and a screenshot of your social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
Food insecurity and food waste are major issues on college campuses, which may seem like a contradiction, but it’s all related. While up to 50% of college students are food insecure, 22 million pounds of food is wasted on campuses across the United States. We can help address both issues by making sure food goes to the students who need it, not to the landfills already overflowing with waste!
Write a response of at least 300 words.
Upload a PDF document with your responses. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
Up to 10 Greener and 10 Greenest outstanding submissions will be selected as winners.
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