Episode 79: What You Can Do to Help Solve the Food Waste Problem, Save Money, and Protect the World’s Resources
Dec 18, 2019
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The Produce Moms Podcast
The average American throws away around $30 worth of uneaten food every month. When you factor in the food being wasted by restaurants, grocery stores, and other points along the supply chain, it’s easy to see how big of a problem this is becoming.
Dana Gunders is the author of Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money By Wasting Less Food. Her work has been featured on media outlets that include NBC, NPR, CNN, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Known as the “food waste warrior”, Dana began exploring the issue of food waste while working in the fruit and vegetable industry.
Dana was taking part in finding ways to make agriculture more sustainable by reducing the use of water, fertilizer, and energy on farms. She started looking into the waste component and stumbled upon some surprising numbers.
- 40% of food in this country goes to waste.
- 25% of its water is used to grow food that’s never eaten.
Dana’s report titled Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill looks at how food is treated throughout the supply chain. The report played a huge role in bringing the issue of food waste to the public’s attention.
Dana is the new interim Executive Director Speaker for ReFED, an organization dedicated to addressing the food waste problem in the U.S. Their efforts are geared toward providing data, money, and other resources to enable others to take action on this important issue.
Households produce most of this country’s food waste, and households with kids tend to have even more food waste. Fruits and vegetables are the number one food product wasted in today’s homes.
It takes a lot of resources to grow, transport, store, and prepare food. It involves labor and other natural resources. When we throw food out, we throw all of those resources out along with it. Wasted food is equivalent to about 37 million cars worth of greenhouse gases.
If food waste were a country, it would rank number three in terms of its carbon footprint, second to the U.S. and China. In fact, food is actually the number one product entering landfills today,
One of the best ways to combat food waste at home is to make smaller shopping trips. There are plenty of options to help you do this. Whether it’s curbside pickup, grocery delivery, or the technologies grocers are using to help consumers shop more efficiently.
“When I did bigger shopping trips, it would be the demise of a large portion of my food. My berries and lettuce would freeze because my fridge was stuffed full.” – Dana Gunders (14:31-14:40)
Turn a weekly trip to the grocery store into multiple smaller trips. You waste less food at home while saving money by not throwing any food out.
People care about this issue and nobody wants to waste food. But they don’t necessarily know what to change in their lives to stop doing it.
The important thing is to start somewhere. Even doing a little bit makes a big difference. Taking the right steps to reduce waste can help you do your part in helping solve this problem. Buying (and eating) fresh fruits and vegetables contributes to your family’s health while helping to save our valuable and limited resources.
How to get involved
- Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week!
- Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here.
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- Episode 77: Looking Back on 2019 and What the Future Has in Store for the Fresh Produce Industry
- Episode 76: Pure Michigan Apples From Family Farms to Your Kitchen with Nick Mascari of Applewood Fresh
- Episode 75: Feeding Families and Creating Healthy Communities with Brighter Bites CEO Rich Dachman
- Episode 74: Becoming a Leader in the Produce Industry with Coastal Sunbelt’s Stacy Ward
- Episode 73: Solving the Biggest Problems Facing Agriculture Using Aquaponics with Kurt Wagaman of Superior Fresh