Streams

Wasted Food

Thursday, January 08, 2009

You may be horrified to learn how much food you waste each week. Food waste blogger Jonathan Bloom of wastedfood.com gives tips on how to cut down on the waste.

Weigh in: What are your favorite ways to cut down on food waste? Tell us recipes, storage tips, shopping tricks, etc.

Guests:

Jonathan Bloom
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Comments [16]

marggie from morristown

Late commnet because I just listened to this on my ipod.

Being distanced from the source of our food is the single biggest problem.

Many years ago I had a very big garden and grew everything from broccoli to soy beans. Made my own tofu, froze food for the winter, and stored up the storables in the cellar.

This lasted for about 5 years, was so labor intensive that the thought of throwing away a piece of my hard work would not have entered my mind. We used almost all and what we couldn't use, I gave to family and friends. And the experience continues to affect my way of thinking about food.

Another way people are divorced from the source of their food is related to meat. People just do not want to hear about it, but if they knew how that meat got to the supermarket there would be a lot more vegetarians in the US. Not to get preachy, but the meat industry in this countery is no longer the idyllic moo-cows and chickens on the farm chatting over the fence with the cute little piglets. In fact it is quite a horrific factory production in which unnecessary and unethical abuses of the animals is flatly accepted. And I don't just mean the slaughter, but the entire life cycles of the animals, who exist under appalling conditions.

Now that I think of it, that would be an interesting please explain segment. Maybe on vegetarianism: what it is, & the variety of reasons people become vegetarian. . . .

Jan. 10 2009 03:34 PM
Amy from NJ

Food waste and the results of food waste come in many forms. The most proactive action one can take is to begin at home. Purchase what you need and fully use what you purchase. For example, those baby boomers who remember the stories of the first depression to rationing during WWII from our elders - old bread and crusts make bread pudding, "a single bone made soup for a week", vegetable ends are good too.
Not a chicken is eaten in my house where the bones don't end up in a pot.

Here in the suburbs I have a little compost in the yard for vegetable waste, egg shells, coffee grinds, (and yard waste.)I use it for my flower beds and drag it to the school garden. In the city those with patios or any outside area at all can have those plastic compost bins that are sealed and turn. The resulting compost would be welcome at the local community garden.

We don't need to buy less if we use what we buy but one should purchase as much of their food as possible locally. Food waste also means energy waste. A significant amount of energy can be saved by eating only one day a week locally grown product.

I recommend reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It's incredibly enlightening and has me baking my own bread again. And just in case you think I have all of the time in the world, I do this with a full time job, two kids, a seat on a State commission, a legislative aide position and a number of volunteer projects ongoing. If I can be more food conscious, anyone can.

Jan. 08 2009 02:08 PM
Robert Cooper from Montclair, NJ

At the Park Slope Food Co-op, for produce that has damage, we have two bins, one for the local food kitchen, Chips and one for compost. Very little go to the dump.
What would it take to have regular supermarkets to follow a similar practice?

Jan. 08 2009 12:58 PM
Josh from Washington Heights

You guest mentioned that people dont like to take doggie bags. My wife takes the bones from even very fancy lamb chops and makes stock from it. Why pay so much for one meal when you can have two?

Jan. 08 2009 12:57 PM
Meghan from Brooklyn

Since I started paying attention, I often wonder what happens to the overabundance of fresh veggies and fruit displayed in grocery stores?

There's no way all of that food is purchased. And while some of it may be donated, it would seem much less wasteful if stores didn't feel compelled to "show" so much food. When you go shopping for veggies in many stores in Europe, you will only see a handful of items.

Seems we should compel stores to cut down on display waste

Jan. 08 2009 12:57 PM
scnex from harlem

the benefits of composting is greatly over looked. as what is being discussed now the individual needs to have a cost benefit. a look at a green composting initiative where compost is credited to food cost as well as that cost is credited back to the farmer as well as the food center. there is a great need for education of our habits.

Jan. 08 2009 12:57 PM
jason from NYC

Is there a connection between the rate of obesity and the food we waste?

Jan. 08 2009 12:52 PM
Carey Weber from CT

I hate wasting food, but am guilty of it as I cook a lot and buy a lot of ingredients which I sometimes don't get around to using before they have spoiled. In our new economic environment I have been much more conscious of trying to use things up even if slightly past their prime. Last night I made curried butternut squash soup with squash, carrots and onions. All of the ingredients were a bit old, in the past they probably would have gone in the trash, but the soup was great.

Jan. 08 2009 12:52 PM
LIAM from East Elmhurst

Bring back BARTER and there could be less waste.
Why didn't 'FEARLESS LEADER' comment on that?
In his speech today-internal trade, we could call it-saves garbage on the ground-saves wasted food.

Jan. 08 2009 12:51 PM
dara b. from Brooklyn

What about our total disconnection of food production? Isn't that a major cause of the lack of concern for the food we both eat and waste?

Jan. 08 2009 12:50 PM
MichaelB from UWS Manhattan

People are paranoid about food. They think that food that is more than a day old is not safe to eat.

This is not even close to being true (I'm speaking about food that is properly refrigerated.)

If some mold develops on some cheese, people will throw out the entire thing, instead of just cutting off the moldy portions. (Cheese IS mold!)

Same for fruit and vegetables. A bruise? Toss it.

Same for finding an insect in food stuffs. We have forgotten that insects touch the food in nature all the time.

Waste abounds. Boy are we spoiled!

Jan. 08 2009 12:49 PM
Adele from Westchester

One contributor to wasted food are big box stores -- Walmart, Sam's, etc. They sell food in bulk at cheap prices. Consumers buy more than they can eat and throw out the rest. Can't tell you how many people say "well, it cost less than if I only bought what I needed at a small grocer." A trend worth noting (and eliminating!).

Jan. 08 2009 12:48 PM
LIAM from East Elmhurst

Comment on these kids and their throw-away thinking-the 'duh' generation wastes a lot in NYC-check the ground in Jackson Heights.

Jan. 08 2009 12:47 PM
EL from QUEENS

I keep finding myself wasting food. I buy and don't finish using before it goes bad, toss it, and buy more. IT'S EXPENSIVE. I'm trying to plan & shop more carefully but it's not always easy. I freeze leftovers but lettuce and other produce often get thrown out.

Jan. 08 2009 12:35 PM
d from Montclair

Tommy from Brooklyn, you may be falling for the make-work fallacy. To me, it is not so much the waste of the food which is unfortunate enough and partly unavoidable. But if you think of the opportunity loss at the beginning of the production (ie, farming) process, the waste of the seeds, fertilizer, fuel, and farmer's time that could be otherwise employed in our economy.

Jan. 08 2009 10:37 AM
Tommy from Brooklyn

Is food ever truly wasted? Of course we don't want to be apathetic but doesn't food waste keep more farmers in business? If we were to cut down on food waste, we would buy less food, hence fewer farmers would be needed to raise foodstuff. I understand we have a guilt complex about wasted food when other people may be starving but if we can't move our excess food to those locations, what's the big deal in keeping some farmers in business here?

Jan. 08 2009 09:27 AM

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