This weekend in the mail I received the November 2012 edition of Whole Living. "Spoil Alert", written by Elizabeth Royte, was one of the last articles. For those of you who are interested in reading the article, I was unable to find it online so you are going to have to get the print version. Have you ever read something and thought "OMG yes!" That was me. I was so impacted by it that I dog-eared the page and read it to my husband. Then I made myself a mini promise: This week we will not have any food waste.
Let me sum up the article: There is an amazing woman named Holly Elmore who founded Elemental Impact in 2010, an organization that helps food-service and corporations be more responsible with their food and food waste. The organization works to lower or stop food waste from ending up in landfills by either donating it to people who would otherwise go hungry or compost it. According to the article, "As a nation, we throw 40% of our food - most of it edible - into the trash." This means that we are wasting a lot of food, money and resources. The average cost of that food is $1600 a year per family of four! I don't know about you but I think that is a crazy amount. It is true though, our family throws food away that has spoiled or looks iffy. The problem isn't that we need to eat that spoiled food, it is that we should have eaten it before that happened. This means we either need to buy less, preserve the extra or share it. The article also talks about how the companies that she helped achieve success. One company takes every leaf off the herb bunches and uses the asparagus stalks in soups and sauces instead of tossing them. There are also six uses for specific leftovers at the end of the article including a recipe using bruised fruit from Bryan Petroff: To make an ice cream topping, take your bruised fruit, cook it down with some balsamic vinegar and a little sugar (add zest from any juiced lemon or orange - optional).
After reading it, I really started to think about what we consume and what we toss out (either to the chickens or into the trash). I don't like wasting food, which is how we end up with so many unknown objects in the refrigerator. I save all the bits and pieces but then forget about them. Last week we were tight on cash so it was a "what's in the pantry" week and a "eat those leftovers" week. Needless to say, we didn't waste much food. It was great. My pledge is to do the same this week.
I thought about this article the entire time I was shopping at the farmer's market (the last of the season up here). I picked up winter squash, beans, beets and garlic. I had plans for all of them before I bought them: a mashed beets recipe, green beans with breadcrumbs, winter squash with maple syrup and butter, garlic for everything. I also took out a package of ground hamburger (1 lb) to split between two meals. After taking stock of what was in the refrigerator: carrots, some older kale, eggs, and other nonperishables, I am looking forward to being creative and not wasting any food this week.
What ways do you keep from wasting food? Comment below.
This article was shared on Sustainable Suburbia