‘A peculiarly Western phenomenon’

June 30, 2012

As a single parent who raised five kids on a below-par income, there was never wasted food amongst us, and after each meal, not much left-over either.
And shit never went bad in the fridge, no rotting fruit and no eatable waste — just about every crumb passed through a set of lips.

Not so with the vast majority of the civilized part of our planet — amazingly, a freakin’ third of all food products worldwide go uneaten, 1.3 billion tons of it.

(Illustration found here).

Food, like climate change, is both too little, and more-than-a-little-too late.
In almost an afterthought, the UN announced this “Zero Hunger Challenge” near the end of the Rio+20 holiday, more an published effort to again seek help in feeding a starving billion people — 13 percent of global population — than anything really realistic.
Barbara Stocking, chief executive officer of hunger-fighting charity Oxfam: “This is the first big idea on food to come out of the Rio+20 debacle, but it is in total contrast to the lack of any action in the summit conclusions.”
Lip service would be just too ironic a comment.
From the UK’s Guardian and a part of the UN’s ‘Challenge‘ of eliminating hunger: …100 percent access to food for all, all year round; ensuring food systems are sustainable (although there is no reference to how this could be achieved); doubling smallholder productivity and income; and a reduction in food waste, at the farmer level, through lack of suitable storage and among consumers. A third of food is lost or wasted. It makes no mention of changing the food systems.
And in keeping with current protocol, no deadline has been set for achieving these aims.

Operative theme:’food waste.’

This nugget of sorrow from a 2011 study by The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (pdf. Quick View here): In medium- and high-income countries food is to a significant extent wasted at the consumption stage, meaning that it is discarded even if it is still suitable for human consumption.
In low-income countries, not much waste at the eating.

A lot of shit spoils in the fridge, ends up in landfills — 200 pounds a year for every man, woman and child in the US.
In Europe 40 percent of food waste is still in its original packaging.
Americans, though, have a relish for leaving food on the plate.
Since 1974, per capita food waste has jumped 50 percent — according to the USDA, each US person eats about 4.7 pounds of food per day, yet what we waste could actually feed us nearly two months.
Odd shit that.

Currently, Austrian artist Klaus Pichler has a photo project, ‘One Third,’ the title off the food waste percentage in a reflection of the arrogant, fat-ass eating habits of civilized man.
Via CNN:

Pichler says that the high-end, fashion magazine finish of his images reflect what he sees as the “over-commoditization” of food as a lifestyle accessory.
“With countless cookery shows and ever more seductive advertisements, food has become a major part of the culture industry,” he said.
“This, along with the false economy of discount bulk buys, is part of why people are purchasing more than they can use.
“It’s a peculiarly Western phenomenon,” he added.


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