Tag Archives: food waste

Ecological Agriculture as the Key to Saving the Planet

by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

The two biggest challenges the world faces today are climate change and global hunger. These challenges are bound to escalate over the next decade, and if we’re to avoid unimaginable calamity they must be met headon. Though the two may appear distinct, in reality they’re joined at the hip. Thus if we’re to triumph over one we must also tackle the other.

One of the keys to a double solution lies in transforming the global food system. According to recent studies, the corporate-dominated food system is responsible for 44%– 57% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—a quantity larger than that of all the world’s vehicle traffic. A hotter climate in turn portends ill for our food supply. The heat waves, droughts, and monster floods unleashed by a warmer planet reduce crop yields, blocking efforts to feed a world population due to add 2 billion hungry mouths by 2050.

While the tie between agriculture and climate confronts us with a dilemma, agriculture experts have suggested that both problems can be ameliorated at one stroke by changing the dominant system of food production. What they propose is a pivot away from the focus on large-scale monocrop cultivation toward small-scale farming using agro-ecological techniques.
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Ending the Wasting of Food, Energy, Our Environment: Triple Net Benefits

 

A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council takes a close look at one significant – and eminently solveable – world hunger problem: the wasting of food at every step of our food supply. The report,  “Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill” (PDF file), also illustrates the interdependence of our food supply, our use of energy, and our impact on the environment.

Dana Gunders, report author and an NRDC food and agriculture project scientist, treats the reader to a detailed description of America’s food waste problem and practical solutions.  The report traces our systems of food production, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal, identifying inefficiencies and losses at each step of these interlinked systems. (The report is worth reading even if only for its patient walk-through of the realities of the food system in the United States.) Continue reading

Hunger in America: Rescuing Food, Rescuing People

 

More than 1 billion people suffer from hunger. Yet, a federal study found nearly 100 billion pounds of edible food was wasted by U.S. retailers, food service businesses, and consumers in a single year. For a family of four, that amounted to 122 pounds of food thrown out each month in grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and homes.

All of the food we receive comes, at least in part, from the effort and generosity of others.  We have every reason to receive it with a sense of gratitude and thankfulness.  To cherish one’s blessings, no food should be wasted.

To remedy the shameful waste of food, Buddhist Global Relief supports the practice of “food rescue“: safely retrieving edible food from grocery stores, vendors, farmers’ markets, and restaurants that would otherwise go to waste, and distributing it to those in need.  For example, one of BGR’s newest partners, City Harvest, Inc. of New York City, responds to the urgent needs of thousands of hungry NYC residents, rescuing 29 million pounds of food this past year and delivering it free of charge to food pantries and soup kitchens.

For information on food recovery organizations in your area, contact Feeding America at 1-800-771-2303.  You can learn more about hunger in America and what you can do to help at www.Feeding America.org.  For information on “gleaning” (collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable), contact The Society of St. Andrew‘s national office at 1-800-333-4597.

Restaurants and grocery stores interested in donating food can contact Food Donation Connection at 1-800-831-8161. They link donors with food recovery organizations. Businesses can also make donations of food by becoming a Feeding America “product partner“.

We are grateful that there are so many ways to help.