Food is very essential for our very survival and is an integral part of our society. Not one festival or celebration goes on without food. We are accustomed to feasting ourselves on every occasion. Meanwhile, One third of the World population goes to bed hungry each and every single day. More than half of that number die as a result of malnutrition or just plain starvation. Is this acceptable to us? Is Mankind used to looking the other way? Is there no food available to feed us all? Why are we not able to feed them by providing them food? Is there a way to help them? If so, why are we not helping them? Is it because we are starving too? or we do not want to help them? Who are they and why do we need to help them?
During my travels across the World, I have come across poverty and starvation many times. I have seen poor kids eating food that were discarded and dropped off on the train tracks by passengers. This attests to the meaning of one mans trash is another mans treasure. We have learned to spend $4.00 on a cup of coffee without hesitation. But when it comes to helping a fellow Human who is dying, we are reluctant. Why is that? That $4.00 could feed a family in some countries.
Why are we wasting food in the first place?
It takes a lot of effort and patience on the farmers part to raise a crop from seed to harvest. It also requires nature to cooperate and tend to these plants with sunlight, rain, nutrients and fertile soil. This does not happen overnight. Mass crop production have put many poor mom and pop farmers out of business. Farming is fast becoming a trade that will soon be on the extinction list across the World. The rate at which we are depleting the trees and the rate at which we are utilizing the water resources, we are bringing ourselves closer to famine, diseases and natural disasters. We may even see many of it more often.
We see food wasted in large quantities every single day in bakeries, restaurants, hotels, schools, cruise ships, airplanes and even in our homes. Food wastage must be stopped starting at home. We see food waste in landfills and dumpsters all too often as part of our urban landscape. These rotting fruits, vegetables and cooked foods emit foul odor, emits gases and in turn may contribute to pollution. Food wastage does not help solve anyone’s problem, it only exaggerates the current problem. It definitely does not help feed anyone.
What causes us to waste food? Is it because food has become very very cheap? If we are getting cheap food, it is either because it is mass produced, it may not be healthy and there is someone who is paying a hefty price eating up the loss and he or she is struggling to put food on the table for his family and his children. Usually it a poor farmer miles away from where we live. We may never know who he is. But he and his family suffers in silence.
Why are we throwing away perfectly healthy fruits and vegetables which are perfect for Human consumption? Because the market demands it. As consumers we want to see conical, orange colored carrots that are symmetrical, apples have to look red, bulbous, symmetrical and delicious to eat and the list goes on and on. This applies to everything we see in our supermarkets and in local farms in your locale. So the market dictates the standards and specification of these imports and local produce. We wouldn’t pick an apple from a supermarket with a cut on it.Would we? We wouldn’t pick a disfigured carrot, bell pepper or a banana. Would we? Definitely not.This is why Billions of tons of fruits and vegetables which are otherwise healthy and perfect for Human consumption are simply discarded Worldwide. Who suffers in the end? The farmers. Who benefits in the end? We the consumers. Now who’s to blame: WE, the consumers. Why?Because supposedly the consumer is always right. Think about it.
All of us can help by following these simple measures : 1. Buy only what you want 2. Don’t overstock. Food does spoil too. 3. Buying wholesale is not cheap. It sounds cheap. 4. Fill your plate only with what you can eat. 5. Foods that are closer to the expiration date may not be safe to consume. 6. Buy in moderation. 7. Eat in moderation. It’s healthier. 8. Share excess food with family. 9. Donate packaged food to a food bank near you. You will help someone not go hungry. 10. Teach your children not to waste food early on.
Points to ponder:
- How much food do we need daily?
- Do we need to waste food in the first place?
- Do we need to purchase excess food to store it?
- Does buying in bulk save money?
- Does buying in bulk cause wastage?
- How much food get’s spoiled every single week?
- Are we eating healthy or consuming junk?
- If sugar is addictive, why are we consuming it?
- Are we eating in moderation or just indulging in food.
- When buying food, ask yourself- Does it have adequate nutrition in it, is it healthy and is it a need or a want?