Americans urged to stop wasting food


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Since the majority of "food" Americans eat is junk, I would say that throwing it away was the best thing you could do with it.

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Millions of Americans are lucky to have any food. Yes. it's that bad.

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It's a pricing mechanism issue.

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The freshest ingredients also spoil the fastest, unfortunately. We feed scraps and any spoiled food to our chickens, and compost what they don't eat, but I am still unhappy when things get away from us and something goes bad.

I have found that prompt freezing when food is approaching the "danger zone" helps somewhat, and brine pickling has been a great help with keeping vegetables from spoiling. It's also a good way to extend the harvest and always have healthy vegetables conveniently available. Before, we would harvest a lot of vegetables, or go to the market or store and load up, and then not eat them fast enough, let some go bad, and then have a dearth until the next go-round. Now, we pickle them or make krauts (you can make tasty pickles out of almost any vegetable), so they're always conveniently available when we don't want to shop or cook and nothing is growing. Plus, lacto-fermented veggies have lots of good probiotics and greater availability of many nutrients than they do when cooked or even raw. No risk of botulism, either, unlike canning.

I could stand to improve my reuse of many ingredients, like the chef in the article suggests--often I mean to make stock or stretch ingredients but I end up tossing them to the chickens out of laziness.

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prompt freezing when food is approaching the "danger zone" helps somewhat

Better still to plan your harvests so that you can freeze food at its best. Making up dishes and freezing those can be a great help later in the year. Very little need go to waste. The critters deal with a fair bit of the veggie trimmings we don't eat, and what nobody eats gets composted.

Growing your own (even only a little) helps prevent waste. Knowing the effort that has gone into putting something on your plate makes it much more precious and not-to-be-wasted. You don't get that feeling with stuff from the supermarket that has cost you only money.

I'm a born miser, and very, very rarely let anything go so bad it has to be chucked.

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Better still to plan your harvests so that you can freeze food at its best.

Oh, we definitely do that as well, but it's more the unplanned stuff that gets wasted. We purchase something on impulse when we go into town, it doesn't fit into our normal routine or we get caught up in our own harvest, and then we're sort of in denial about when we'll cook it, so it spoils. I've found that if we will just admit that we're not going to get around to it right away and go ahead and freeze it, we waste much less.

Growing your own (even only a little) helps prevent waste.

Ah, see, we've actually found the opposite to be true. But we usually have a huge surplus. Most of our stuff is perennial (we don't do a huge amount of annual vegetable gardening), so we plant for variety and don't have a great deal of control over how much/when we harvest each year. For instance, we may enjoy eating a few dozen different types of fruit, or having multiple varieties of a particular fruit to extend the harvest, but dozens of mature fruit and nut trees produce way more than we can eat each year (and actually we have hundreds of trees by this point, though not all are producing yet--plus lots of berries and perennial vegetables and such). We share a lot and feed a lot to the animals, which reduces feed purchases, but it still frustrates me that we can't keep up with it better. On the other hand, the waste is less wasteful, in that it goes to feed livestock and wildlife and the soil, and the environmental impact of its production is minimal, since we use permaculture methods and it doesn't need to be transported, etc. I still feel better about it than I do about buying food, but I'd like to experiment with things like solar dehydration to better keep up with the fruit harvest, in particular.

cost you only money

Heh, money is always in much shorter supply around here than labor or food!

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"Millions of Americans are lucky to have any food."

A ridiculous statement. The Global Food Security Index routinely ranks the US at the top of over 100 countries.

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Well, just because Americans are better off than other countries doesn't mean people don't go hungry here. Millions of households are food insecure, and lots of people do experience hunger and are poorly nourished. I mean, virtually no one is going to die of starvation in the US, but that doesn't mean that everyone has access to sufficient food.

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“Food Security” = Monsanto

It's not food. It just looks like it.

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@Jennifer Richardson

Have you ever been to a US supermarket? And looked at the prices...and the sheer volume? Everything in Japan and Europe is puny and overpriced by comparison.

You may also be aware that a leading health problem in America's poorest areas is....obesity. Sure, they don't generally healthily, but eat is what they do.

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Yes, I've been to many American supermarkets. I'm American. They are faintly horrifying, even to those of us who grew up with them. But I've also worked with families who couldn't afford food, and children who went hungry at home, either because of their families' poverty or because of complicating factors like homelessness, undocumented status, abuse/neglect, mental illness, drug addiction, etc. (I spent years volunteering at a domestic violence shelter). I also can't count the number of school kids I've worked with who are listless and miserable and unengaged all the time, and then you find out that their parents are saving money by having them only eat at school (reduced price or free lunches). Yes, obesity is a huge and growing problem (er, no pun intended), but that doesn't mean that there aren't millions of people who often go hungry (some of them, ironically, obese themselves). Insecure access to food is very detrimental to a kid emotionally and academically--I don't care if you're fat, if you miss more meals than you eat, you are going to be moody and do poorly on tests and in sports, not to mention the stress it puts on your family to run out of money for food, often leading parents to take it out on their kids. And yes, those families often buy and over-consume the most obesity-promoting foods when they can afford food, for various reasons. And, horribly, if a kid has gotten obese to the point where they've developed health problems like diabetes, not having regular access to food can be life-threatening. So you'd think that being obese would necessarily mean not going hungry, but often the opposite is true. And then there are the really poor people--not just people living below the poverty line, but street people and such, who are actually often underweight. It's absolutely accurate to say that much of the time, many in the US are lucky to have food at all, especially children.

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Heck, the Japanese ought to be urged not to waste food, why just the other day I saw a Japanese woman leave her mostly uneaten french fries and onion rings to be thrown away by the restaurant. I instantly came to the rescue of those fries and onion rings!

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Obese doesn't mean they aren't going hungry. I grew up in America in a household with no money. We scraped to get by and bought what we could afford. What we could afford was not healthy because fresh healthy foods cost more than crappy food. I gained a lot of weight. I suffered physically and mentally because of my lack of good nutrition and a decent meal. I ate one meal a day. No breakfast and lunch was a bag of chips from a vending machine because my mother could only give me 1 dollar for lunch and nothing in the lunch line at school was a dollar or less.

Dinner was whatever we could throw together. Summer vacations were the worst because no food available. When I was with other family that had food I gorged on it until I was sick.

I didn't even know what real food tasted like until very late in my life when I was able to take care of myself and it got better when I got married to someone who could afford real food.

to say american people don't suffer from hungry just because they are obese and Rich is just false because not everybody is rich. The Rich tend to be thin while the poor tend to be obese but as I explained above there are reasons for that. Also it works in reverse. My friend goes without food some times so that her child can eat. She is severely underweight. Don't label a persons life by how they look.

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