In case you missed it, Earth Day was April 22nd! The fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more and more apparent every day. The official EARTH DAY website has so much fascinating information on the history of this day and how it has evolved over the past 50 years. This holiday was founded back in the 1970’s and quickly became a great way to spread awareness of how the way we live affects our planet both negatively and positively. As the 1990’s approached, Earth Day gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide! This day serves as a reminder to do something that takes care of and changes the world that we live in for the better.
One of the campaigns that the Earth Day Organization put out is “Foodprints for the Future”. It talks about how we can shrink our foodprint which measures the environmental impacts associated with the growing, producing, transporting, and storing of our food - from the natural resources consumed to the pollution produced to the greenhouse gasses emitted. Ironically, within a week of Earth Day (the last Wednesday of April to be exact) is another international awareness day that helps in reminding us how we can help lessen our foodprint - it’s called Stop Food Waste Day.
The Compass Group launched Stop Food Waste Day in 2017 to raise awareness about the growing worldwide food waste crisis. This group is the world’s 6th largest employer and the leader in food and support services management - located in Chertsey, England. They promote this day of action while addressing some of the world community’s challenges regarding food production, hunger, and climate change.
Here are some crazy facts that will really make you just stop and think a bit harder about the food we are all wasting each year:
- Over 80 billion pounds of food gets thrown away in just the U.S. each year.
- Nearly 40% of food produced will go to waste just because it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing in the store.
- Other factors that come into play when it comes to food waste that we can’t always control - lack of workers to harvest, weather, overproduction, faulty equipment, etc.
- If just a quarter of the food currently being wasted globally was saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million people around the world.
- Promotions in grocery stores lead to more food waste as people will buy more food than we need if we think we are getting more for our money.
- In just the U.S., organic waste is the largest source of methane emissions, which is a greenhouse gas that has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.
- If we stopped throwing food away, we can save the equivalent of 17 metric tons of CO2, which can be the environmental equivalent of keeping five cars off the roads in the UK.
- A new internet trend called “Mukbang”, where personalities and social media influencers livestream videos of themselves binge-eating, are leading to excess food waste. Which can also lead to people developing a slew of eating disorders even which we all know is not healthy!
This has seemed more like a history lesson thus far I am sure but I want to drive home the importance of paying more attention to the food waste we all contribute to - maybe without even being fully aware of how much we are each a part of it all. It may seem like even just one person can’t make much of a difference, but you can! By starting small changes of your own and then spreading the word with even just friends and family, you are making a huge difference to the world we all get to live in. Small steps lead to bigger, more positive changes!
Here are some great ideas on how to get started at home, in your community and even within your business:
- Purchase and prepare only the amount of food you need to feed you and your family. Shop your pantry for meal planning first.
- Discover new recipes that allow you to makeover leftovers.
- Learn how to preserve food.
- If you buy in bulk, consider donating excess to local shelters.
- Understand the use by and best by dates.
In your community or business:
- Speak to your local grocers about changing their damaged fruit and vegetables policies. Those pristine-looking bings full of blemish-free fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be the standard anymore.
- Shop farmer’s markets, local food stands, and food co-ops.
- Create or participate in a donation program.
- Promote neighborhood composting.
- Educate your employees about best food practices.
- Develop a partnership with area farmers and feed the animals.
Those are just the everyday tasks that we can do to help reduce our foodprint on this world. In observance of Stop Food Waste Day, let’s all celebrate by:
- Sharing your own tips and tricks on how you avoid food waste with our friends and family as well as on our social media pages. Add #StopFoodWasteDay to your post so it reaches more people!
- Try and share a new recipe you found that helps make your food go the extra mile.
- Clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Find a shelter, food bank or somewhere you can donate food that you know you’re not going to use by the expiration date.
- Educate yourself more about food waste, the causes and how to prevent it. Some great resources are:
- Documentaries -
- Just Eat It, directed by Grant Baldwin
- Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, directed by Nari Kye and Anna Chai
- Expired! Food Waste in America, directed by Rebecca Richman Cohen
- The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook by Cinda Chavich
- In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Our team as a whole here at Vibrant Meals knows the importance of making sure almost every product we buy to make our delicious meals doesn’t get wasted. We have donated thousands of meals over the years to food banks, homeless shelters, charity events and more. Every Thursday if we have extra food from our production for the week, those meals are donated to shelters and churches who help those in need of a hot meal. We strive to make sure that we lessen our foodprint just as much as the next person by planning before we buy each week, while also helping feed those who are hungry.
Let Vibrant Meals help in lessening your weekly food waste and replace a few meals each week with us! We portion out our food so that it is truly one serving per person. They are not only nutritious, but filling as well. The containers are also reusable and recyclable to help you lessen not only your foodprint but your overall waste footprint on this beautiful place we call home.