Food waste is a major problem. The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN estimates we waste a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food globally each year, approximately a third of all food produced.
With millions of people around the globe suffering hunger and food insecurity, it is criminal that we, as a society, waste so much perfectly good food. Additionally, food waste is hugely damaging to our environment. If food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of carbon dioxide after China and the USA.
One of the most damaging aspects of food waste is its carbon footprint.
The emissions from the process which culminates in the food we see in the supermarkets (and that which is wasted before it even reaches the shelves) includes those from the production stage, the packaging and the delivery. There is also the massive amount of water wasted in commercial food production processes.
How can I help?
Some fruit and vegetables do not make it to the supermarket shelves, simply because it doesn’t meet certain aesthetic criteria, even if it is completely edible. So why not grow your own fruit and vegetables and regardless of their shape and colour, they will taste delicious.
As certain vegetables can be re-grown from scraps, many homegrowers will be using the leftovers of their produce to grow the next batch, further cutting down on waste.
If you grow more produce than you need, give the surplus away to friends and family. Not many people will turn down delicious and fresh homegrown fruit and vegetables. And you never know; you may even inspire them to become kitchen gardeners themselves. If you have a lot of a particular fruit or vegetable that is coming to the end of its life, use it to make a big batch of something easily freezable, like soup or smoothies.
If you need another reason to keep growing your own produce, not only are your home grown fruit and vegetables tastier, fresher and better for the environment; you are also contributing to the fight against the serious problem of food waste.