What’s up roamers! Paschal Farms believes in ecological stewardship, which is why we want to bring attention to an epidemic we all contribute to and have the power to change through individual action. 

Did you know that approximately 40% of the food grown in the U.S. goes uneaten? According to the EPA, that’s equivalent to some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce wasted annually. With an adult blue whale weighing in at 140 tons, this unimaginable figure is the equivalent to 428,571 whales combined! Having trouble imagining it? Us too.

What’s At Stake?

Wasting food wastes vital resources needed to sustain life, such as fresh water and the organic matter in our soils. These are some of the core building blocks for all life on earth. Wasting food also wastes labor, time, money, and energy. When you begin to think about everything that goes into growing a crop and the energy and capital that it takes to transport, cull, and manage growing food, it doesn’t make logical sense to throw food away— ever.

Luckily, there are simple practices one can pick up to transition to a less wasteful and more tasteful life!

  1. Start Buying Ugly Produce

When farmers harvest their crops and sell it to a retailer, that retailer imposes a size and shape limit on the products. It’s estimated that approximately 20% of produce or more gets thrown out for cosmetic reasons like weird shapes, odd colors, or blemishes on a peel you don’t even eat. As of 2020, there are a plethora of businesses who take that produce and sell it below market value and some will even deliver the less than perfect produce to your door. (See businesses like MisFits Market and Imperfect Foods.) 

  1. Get That Compost Pile Going

Composting is one of the easiest ways to divert food from the landfill. Some cities , like Portland, Oregon, offer compost bins for their residents, while others may leave it up to small businesses to provide curbside compost pick-up. If your city does not offer composting bins and you do not want to pay for someone to haul your scraps away, you can begin practicing vermiculture. This is as easy as putting a shallow bin of soil under your sink with some worms in it. You’ll throw your scraps in and the micro and macro organisms will eat it and poop out soil. Welcome to the biotic community unplugged!

  1. Meal Prep

Every time you go to the grocery store, check the food already in your fridge and develop a meal plan for the week that utilizes those items. Statistically speaking, Americans throw away a third of the food they buy from the grocery store. Imagine you walk out of the store with three bags and drop one and leave it on the pavement. That’s what most people do. Don’t be those people. With just a little meal planning, you can save money and may even find the added benefit of healthier meals and a more productive week. Meal Hero is a free online tool you can use to help utilize those leftovers already in your fridge and plan for the foods that are not.

There you have it friends! Stop wasting food and help give mother earth a break.

Contributing content by Victoria Erran who’s degree in sustainability landed her in an important role at Recycled City, an urban composting firm in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona