We all know food starts at a farm, but do we know where it ends up? 40% of the food made in the US is thrown out in landfills, whereas only 60% is actually being eaten. How could this be? At Dominguez, we discussed many reasons why food gets wasted. Many students shared that they throw food out when it goes bad or reaches their expiration date. This began an interesting conversation around ‘best by’ dates and ‘sell by’ dates, which are pretty irrelevant to consumers. In fact, the expiration dates on food labels are almost always earlier than the date a food product goes bad. This is because food manufacturers/ processors want to be safe and not risk a consumer eating bad food. However, it has resulted in consumers and retailers to throw a lot of food out before it’s actually bad. All this food goes directly into polluting landfills, instead of ideally getting separated into composted food and recycled materials. Food that is wasted that goes bad at home is entirely the consumer’s fault for taking more food than they would be able to eat. AKA their eye’s are bigger than their stomach.
Wrapping up the class, we talked about a few different organizations & models that are working around the abundance of food waste in the US. Many of these organizations do a form of dumpster diving where they salvage perfectly good food and pass it on to someone who needs it. Though these organizations are making a big impact on food access and food waste, they are relying on thrown out, abundant food. We discussed that the most sustainable approach would be to change consumer’s minds about eating patterns and start eating more ugly fruit or not be so quick to throw food out.
On another note, many of the seedlings from before spring break have popped up such as corn, watermelon, and radishes!