I think it’s safe to say that most, if not all of us have either tried our hands at cooking or have had one person in our household do so in the past couple of months. Quite often a lot of these fancy recipes are a hit or miss, right? So what do we do when a dish comes out looking inedible, to say the least? We slam dunk it into the trash!
Did you know that an average of $1 trillion of food is lost or wasted every year — accounting for roughly one-third of the world’s food?
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), reversing this trend would preserve enough food to feed 2 billion people . That’s more than twice the number of undernourished people across the globe. This isn’t a ploy to guilt-trip you about the wasted food, but an incentive to be resourceful with it. How, you ask? Composting!
That food you threw out is no longer waste, if composted. Composting is a natural process of decomposing your wet waste into nutrient-rich material for your soil, thereby increasing its fertility. Marty Robbins was right after all. One man’s waste becomes another man’s treasure. Composting opens your eyes to your consumption levels and your waste generation. The compost can then be used as soil or manure for your vegetation and plants. No wonder they say, compost is a gardener’s best friend.
While composting is a great solution to our food waste, wouldn’t it be better if we generated less waste, to begin with? Of course, those hit and miss recipes will need some practice, but otherwise, it is, in fact, possible to go zero-waste while cooking.
Practising the concept root to stem cooking - a method that uses every part of a fruit or vegetable in cooking to avoid wastage. That broccoli stem you may be throwing out along with onion and potato peels make for a delicious and nutritious vegetable stock. This also means you can whip an Instagram worthy smoothie bowl from banana peels!
This also involves upcycling our food leftovers.
Some amount of food is lost at nearly every stage of food production. Retail stores are one of the biggest contributors, as they throw away an estimated 43 billion pounds of food every year! Those ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables, that we often throw out or turn a blind eye to while grocery shopping, are often top quality and delicious. As consumers, we can make a huge difference simply by our choice of produce along with some meal plans in mind. Not only is this a cost-effective method, but also helps boost our health as we move away from packaged foods.
Farmers as well are often forced to throw away a lot of their produce as well. Several reasons contribute to this cause; one being excess food production. Market conditions also force farmers to throw out edible food, for lack of consumer demand. The ongoing pandemic, for example, forced farmers to throw away a huge portion of their harvest due to the closing of commercial and educational establishments.
As conscious consumers, we can help reduce the impacts of COVID-19 inflicted on them by directly purchasing fruits and vegetables from them.
With that being said, homes continue to remain a substantial source of food waste. This should only empower us with the notion that it is indeed possible to curb our waste generation and in turn, divert food to populations that are in dire need of the same.