Food waste has become a burgeoning problem among our society. Did you know that roughly one third of the food produced in the world gets lost or wasted? From improper use or storage to discarded “ugly” produce, we must find a way to address this issue.
This was the task at hand for students at the University of Florida’s Innovation Academy. They were asked to create a business concept or invention that could tackle the food waste problem. Ideas included a household composting device, participating in food drives, and donating to food pantries. These bright young students were onto something, however, they all seemed to assume that food waste is inevitable. We need to take a closer look at what causes us to create food waste so we can stop it at the source.
Take, for example, the standards that fruits and vegetables must meet in order to be on display. We have these ideas of what produce should look like in our minds and if they do not match what is available, we likely will not buy it. Thus, “ugly” produce that do not meet the standards is often discarded or wasted. Also, because of our attraction to abundance, we are more likely to choose from a large pile of apples as opposed to a small one, even if they were identical apples.
So how can we proactively decrease food waste? Imperfect Produce is a company that offers affordable fruits and vegetables to consumers by sourcing the produce rejected on farms for cosmetic reasons. Whether they are too small, misshapen or the wrong color, rather than being wasted, they are salvaged and help offered at a lower price, also helping to decrease food insecurity.
Another proposed idea is to get people involved in food production. When students plant a seed and watch it grow into sustainable food, they get to experience firsthand all the hard work that goes into food production (energy, time, labor, water). Their investment in the production of food could lead to a better understanding that when it comes to food waste, we lose much more than just food.
Do you have any ideas on how we can prevent food waste? Any thoughts on how to make the most of our food waste? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest.
Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona. Come in for a yummy sandwich, fresh salad, or tasty dessert weekdays from 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm (closed Sundays).