I stood there aghast watching as the supermarket employee casually pulled up the nearest trash can and plucked pear after pear from the display and threw each one away. Just threw them away. Were they moldy? No. Were they recalled for a health reason? No. Their crime was that they were bruised. Not pretty enough. I couldn’t believe it. He must have thrown away 50 pears before I asked him if I could have a couple. “Sure,” he said, “but they’re ugly”. I told him that was precisely why I wanted them.
Our food waste statistics in this country are staggering. Feeding America estimates that we waste approximately 70 billion pounds of food in America each year (http://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/how-we-work/securing-meals/reducing-food-waste.html), and a recent report from UNEP and the World Resources Institute, estimates that “one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When this figure is converted to calories, this means that about 1 in 4 calories intended for consumption is never actually eaten” (http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts).
So, what can we do? Start with education. Educate yourselves and your families about cooking, meal planning and how to use fresh foods. Save and reuse leftovers, and craft recipes like this one that use bruised or leftover foods from your fridge. Most importantly though, let’s all work together to craft a community of food consciousness. Let’s work together in our food banks this Thanksgiving, let’s get our hands dirty in the garden and let’s get cooking!