How to Help Prevent Food Waste

Since 2015, we’ve been on a mission to help end hunger. In California and beyond, we’ve already donated over 1.2 million meals through our one-for-one program—and we’re just getting started. In honor of World Food Day on October 16, we’re putting a spotlight on food insecurity all month long.

 

In the US alone, an estimated 130 billion pounds of food is lost to waste each year. Reducing the amount of food waste that reaches landfills undoubtedly will contribute to a healthier environment… but what if it also means we can feed more people at the same time?

 

Did you know that an estimated 30-40% of food in the US goes to waste? Despite this surplus, 1 in 8 people—and 1 in 5 children—are thought to struggle with food insecurity (chronic deficits in access to nutrition). Without a doubt, reducing food waste needs to be part of the solution to achieve a #ZeroHunger world.

 

We recently featured one of our food-bank partners, World Harvest in Los Angeles, for their innovation in combating food waste. Measures like supplying the LA Zoo with excess produce and composting unused food mitigates the negative effects of food waste, but there’s still much work to be done. We all can contribute in our homes, and it’s surprisingly easy (and healthy) to make an impact. Here are some ways to prevent food waste in your life:

 

Shop locally and buy in season. Did you know that produce grown out of season often requires additional natural resources—a different form of waste—and usually doesn’t taste as good? To know what’s in season, read up about agriculture in your area or make visiting your local farmers market part of your routine. If you want to outsource the business of knowing what’s harvested when, you can opt for community-supported agriculture (CSA), which provides farm-to-home produce at a lower cost than the grocery store. Participation in a CSA benefits local business owners and teaches you what’s in season along the way.

 

Consider “ugly” produce. Some produce-delivery services curb supermarket waste by sourcing produce deemed “unsellable” by grocers. A lemon too big, an apple too small or a potato too misshapen can reach a subscriber who values its nutrition instead of reaching a landfill (and generally at a lower price). Convenient doorstep delivery and easy control of your box make these services great for adventurous cooks, frugal shoppers and veggie-lovers.

 

Plan your meals. It takes time to plan a meal schedule, but it’s a great way to ensure that you don’t overindulge at the store and that you use up what you already have on hand. Don’t forget the health benefits of knowing what’s in your food, tweaking recipes to suit your taste and nutritional needs… and feeling the love of a home-cooked meal.

 

Buy only what you need. Buying in bulk (or just more than you need) may seem like a “good deal,” but if extra ends up in the bin, it’s just wasted money and excess garbage. Meal-planning helps with this too!

 

Take leftovers to work. Invest in good-quality reusable storage containers to pack up leftovers. Grabbing one as you head out the door means lunch is solved before the day starts, and you can fit a walk, meditation or errand into your break instead of rushing around for a (likely unhealthy) meal.

 

Learn to make soup. Once you know a reliable technique, making a weekly vegetable soup or stock is an easy way to use up scraps and extra produce. Stock makes quick use of onions, celery and carrots, while a thick soup of pureed vegetables is often both tasty and heart-healthy.

 

Visit FDA.gov or even more tips to reduce food waste.

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Author: April Carter Grant

April Carter GrantApril Carter Grant grew up in the rural Midwest and has worked as a creative in the advertising, gaming, travel and beauty industries. An avid walker and sometime runner, she lives in LA with a young son and spazzy dog.

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