Food is a basic necessity for all human beings, but it is often times taken for granted. Many people today never need to worry about when their next meal is going to be. Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone.
About three trillion pounds of food goes to waste every year. This is about a third of all the food that our world produces. The “ugly” fruits and vegetables are among this food that is getting thrown into the garbage. These vegetables and fruits themselves aren’t bad, but just their appearance on the outside is not normal. The amount of wasted food each year could drop immensely if people would stop throwing out these fruits and vegetable just based on their looks.
This is exactly what Tristram Stuart went out to preach, that the “ugly” fruits and vegetables could actually help feed all of planet Earth.Tristram Stuart was born in London, and at age fourteen, he and his father moved to his family’s house in Ashdon Forest. This house was miles away from the nearest town. But, just across from his home was his grandparent’s farm, which had a large amount of staff still working on it. His father also worked on the farm, since it was home to his large vegetable garden. Tristram himself looked after the pigs and the chickens on his farm. He quickly realized that he was never going to have enough money to buy feed for the animals.
So, he collected some discarded potatoes and stale cakes from different shops and even his school kitchen. This is where he first learned of how much good food was being thrown away each day in the world, and knew he wanted to something about it.Tristram eventually entered the University of Cambridge and studied English Literature. He, along with a few others, would dine on food that they would find in the supermarket dumpsters around that area. He gained a lot of attention from the world due to his dumpster dives, and soon was able to help produce a documentary on wasting food. He then wrote a book called Waste, on the causes of food waste and the effects of it on our world. Finally, wanting to get his message across to the whole entire world, he started an event called “Feeding the 5000.” This event consisted of a free meal for all of the guests, made completely out of things like the “ugly” fruits and vegetables and other foods that were going to be thrown away.
He started this event in order raise awareness towards food waste in the world, and to show that you can use these foods to still make a good meal. Not stopping there, he decided to further investigate into food waste, which lead him to the supermarkets and their very demanding standards on their foods. In order to learn more about this, he traveled all around the world to see how the United States’ food waste compared to other countries.
When Tristram got to Peru, he met with a man named Luis Garibaldi, in a town called Huaral. Luis was the largest mandarin orange farmer, and when asked, he told Tristram that he is able to export almost seventy percent of all of his oranges. That means only thirty percent of them are not able to be sold due to things like size, color, or a blemish of some kind.
Luis will then bring those “ugly” oranges down to the local markets, where people will buy and enjoy them. Tristram then realized something, the supermarkets are a major cause for the amount of food waste. Big supermarkets, especially here in America, are able to set their standards however they want. To stores it’s almost like a judging a beauty pageant when choosing their produce, only choosing the best looking ones to be put on their shelf. There are eight hundred million people starving in our world, and with the 2.
9 trillion pounds of food we waste, that would be enough to feed all of them more than two times. Tristam then went and interviewed many other farmers, who said the same things. One farmer said he had to dump almost three and half million pounds of his onions, just because they were labeled too small or imperfect by the grocery store. Another said that forty tons of his green beans, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and runner beans had to be thrown away since they didn’t meet the supermarket’s standards. That alone, was enough food to feed 250,000 people. By 2050, our world is estimated to be home to nine billion people. This causes panic among our world today, because agriculture is already responsible for using up to seventy percent of the planet’s freshwater, and causing almost eighty percent of the world’s tropical and subtropical deforestation.
So the question now is, how can everyone help to reduce the amount of food waste we have each year in order to save our planet? Looking at the chart called “Reducing Waste: How You Can Help,” you will see that it lists many different ways to decrease waste at a store, restaurant, home, and even in your community.