‘Insecurity’ in Food Waste

July 14, 2016

picasso__le_repas_frugal-e1340367392424Foggy and a bit chilly this early Thursday on California’s north coast, as the NWS prompts correctly the ‘Decreasing Clouds‘ forecast for today — sunshine and near-clear skies most-likely set for early afternoon.
Hot inland, though, and supposedly we could get near/or better than 70-degrees even here along the shoreline as record heat settles over summer.

Not only does the US have a gun problem, a race problem, a Donald-Trump problem, but we also eat like rich assholes — from the Guardian on Wednesday: ‘Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment.’

Eat what we want, not what we need…

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Frugal Meal,’ found here).

Apparently, the problem starts before food products reach our kitchen table — further from the Guardian:

Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials.
From the fields and orchards of California to the population centres of the east coast, farmers and others on the food distribution chain say high-value and nutritious food is being sacrificed to retailers’ demand for unattainable perfection.
“It’s all about blemish-free produce,” says Jay Johnson, who ships fresh fruit and vegetables from North Carolina and central Florida.
“What happens in our business today is that it is either perfect, or it gets rejected. It is perfect to them, or they turn it down. And then you are stuck.”
Food waste is often described as a “farm-to-fork” problem.
Produce is lost in fields, warehouses, packaging, distribution, supermarkets, restaurants and fridges.

But that is just a “downstream” measure.
In more than two dozen interviews, farmers, packers, wholesalers, truckers, food academics and campaigners described the waste that occurs “upstream”: scarred vegetables regularly abandoned in the field to save the expense and labour involved in harvest.
Or left to rot in a warehouse because of minor blemishes that do not necessarily affect freshness or quality.
When added to the retail waste, it takes the amount of food lost close to half of all produce grown, experts say.
“I would say at times there is 25 percent of the crop that is just thrown away or fed to cattle,” said Wayde Kirschenman, whose family has been growing potatoes and other vegetables near Bakersfield, California, since the 1930s.
“Sometimes it can be worse.”

One point is to rescue food — via HuffPost earlier this week: ‘Created through a public-private partnership with the University of California, Davis and the Energy Commission, the Sacramento Biodigester is keeping leftovers out of landfills and converting them into fuel that can power school buses, waste disposal trucks and fleet vehicles, according to the California Energy Commission.
Altogether, it diverts 40,000 tons of food waste from landfills, according to Energy Vision.’
A good start to an ironic situation…

Food, or more-correctly, lack-of-food, is homeward bound — via Mashable this morning:

According to Feeding America, 1 in 7 people in the U.S. face hunger every year.
The rates of hunger in children are even higher, with about 1 in 5 lacking proper access to food at some point during the year.
“You see a lot of PSAs about international hunger and how hunger is threatening lives around the world,” Clay Dunn, chief communications officer at nonprofit No Kid Hungry, tells Mashable.
“What most people don’t realize is that we have an epidemic of hunger right here.”
It’s called food insecurity, and it’s a metric tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pinpoint how many households struggle during the year to provide food for their families.

And this of note: ‘An estimated 48.8 million Americans, including 16.2 million children, live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. As a result, about 1 in 5 children go hungry at some point during the year.’

Food insecurity is an old tale…

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