Event Title

All About Leftovers

Presenter Information

Jonathan Bloom

Event Website

http://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/news-events-conferences/last-food-mile-conference

Start Date

8-12-2014 2:40 PM

End Date

8-12-2014 3:05 PM

Description

Wasted food is a particularly galling aspect of our broken food system. The juxtaposition of hunger and waste on this planet is both an affront to common sense and morally callous. Food waste is even more appalling when you consider the environmental impact of modern agriculture. Squandering 30 to 40 percent of available calories while 15 percent of American households are food insecure is ethically and ecologically unsustainable.

There is near universal agreement on the scale of the food waste problem, but little accord on what solutions to prioritize. Where shall we push for action on food waste and where shall we as societies act? We have just enough knowledge to answer that question. While we don’t know exactly how much food is lost at each step of the food chain, we do know that farms and homes represent the two largest sources of wasted food. Focusing on the latter, there’s good and bad news there. Unfortunately, we as individuals leave plenty of room for improvement. Yet, we also have a great amount of agency to impact America’s food waste problem if we all do our part and a responsibility to do so.

As consumers and eaters, we have a vital role to play in reducing food waste—at restaurants and supermarkets and in our homes. There are myriad challenges to minimizing waste in all three settings, not least of which are apathy and inertia. The relative cheapness of food devalues it. Meanwhile, the perception that food must look perfect prompts a ripple effect of waste throughout the food chain. And our abundant food supply creates a perception that we don’t have to be careful with our food.

For the most part, though, these challenges are anything but insurmountable. And it is worth emphasizing that if we all act individually, there will be a collective shift on food waste. With a little attention and a desire to reduce the amount of food waste we’re creating, consumers can dramatically reduce their household food waste and prompt restaurants and retailers to do the same.

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Dec 8th, 2:40 PM Dec 8th, 3:05 PM

All About Leftovers

Wasted food is a particularly galling aspect of our broken food system. The juxtaposition of hunger and waste on this planet is both an affront to common sense and morally callous. Food waste is even more appalling when you consider the environmental impact of modern agriculture. Squandering 30 to 40 percent of available calories while 15 percent of American households are food insecure is ethically and ecologically unsustainable.

There is near universal agreement on the scale of the food waste problem, but little accord on what solutions to prioritize. Where shall we push for action on food waste and where shall we as societies act? We have just enough knowledge to answer that question. While we don’t know exactly how much food is lost at each step of the food chain, we do know that farms and homes represent the two largest sources of wasted food. Focusing on the latter, there’s good and bad news there. Unfortunately, we as individuals leave plenty of room for improvement. Yet, we also have a great amount of agency to impact America’s food waste problem if we all do our part and a responsibility to do so.

As consumers and eaters, we have a vital role to play in reducing food waste—at restaurants and supermarkets and in our homes. There are myriad challenges to minimizing waste in all three settings, not least of which are apathy and inertia. The relative cheapness of food devalues it. Meanwhile, the perception that food must look perfect prompts a ripple effect of waste throughout the food chain. And our abundant food supply creates a perception that we don’t have to be careful with our food.

For the most part, though, these challenges are anything but insurmountable. And it is worth emphasizing that if we all act individually, there will be a collective shift on food waste. With a little attention and a desire to reduce the amount of food waste we’re creating, consumers can dramatically reduce their household food waste and prompt restaurants and retailers to do the same.

https://repository.upenn.edu/thelastfoodmile/sessions/session/25

 

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