Community Agriculture Alliance: Why we need to talk about food waste
April 21, 2016
We all eat. Unfortunately, we all throw away food. Every year, 40 percent of food produced in the United States is thrown away. When one in eight Colorado residents are food insecure, there needs to be more awareness about how food waste can be diverted to the people who need it. Food waste has major environmental, social and economic implications.
Food waste is the No. 1 item in landfills, which creates massive amounts of methane emissions from rotting foods. With 8 percent of Routt County residents living below the poverty line, all of the perfectly good food that goes to waste in landfills should be rerouted to families in need.
In addition to the environmental and social impacts of food waste, there is also an economic impact of throwing away food. All the water used to grow it, fuel used to transport it, and other resources that go into food production go straight into the landfills and not to hungry people.
No one wants to waste food, yet every day, businesses, restaurants, schools and homes toss out food. One of the first steps toward reducing food waste is source reduction; only prepare what you are going to eat or make something that will taste just as good as leftovers.
The next step is feeding hungry people. Take any uneaten food to LiftUp; its food bank helps provide people in Routt County with healthy and nutritious food.
After feeding people, you can use your food scraps to feed to animals (such as pigs). Finally, reach out to Twin Enviro and ask about getting a composting bucket for your home, then either give this compost to Twin Enviro or use it in your own garden.
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If you have a garden at your own home that produces excess fruits and vegetables, visit ampleharvest.org to learn more about how you can donate all the extra healthy food to local food banks. LiftUp will accept donations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Ampleharvest.org will also send you a package of organic zucchini seeds if you promise to donate your leftover harvested produce to a local food bank.
Minimizing the amount of food wasted in homes and businesses may not seem like an issue, but diverting food waste can have a positive impact in our county's environmental, social and economic health.
Mackenzie Dormer is sophomore at Colorado Mountain College Alpine Campus, where she leads the campus' Food Recovery Network chapter and organizes student volunteers and food recoveries.
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