Dude, Fork It Over – Weekly Tidbits

okay you guys, you know there’s a lot of food going to waste, but did you know…

* fifty years ago we spent 30% of our income on food.  we now spend only 10%, and HALF of it is on food NOT consumed in the home!  this decrease in expenditure is also shown to be directly correlated to the massive increase in health care costs.  you get what you pay for. * over TWENTY percent of what’s in the landfill is FOOD! * food in your garbage does NOT decompose, but rather creates methane gas that contributes to global warming! * we throw away enough food to fill up the Rose Bowl every single day, and with this waste 300 MILLION barrels of oil a year and 1/4 of our water supply!

* two BILLION could be fed on the food the USA wastes! * we lose 41,000 farms per year, 80% which are family farms! * the children born in this generation are the first EVER to have a lower life expectancy than their parents! * food prices are cheaper for junk food because they are made of corn products, from corn syrup to all

the other byproducts (dextrose, anyone?), and the government subsidizes corn.  the price of candy has remained relatively stable with inflation for 30 years, while the price of (unsubsidized) fresh fruits and vegetables?  skyrocketed.  twisted, don’t you think?

okay so you all know EVERY one of you can do something about your food waste.  from buying only what you need to planning your meals better to eating your leftovers, there are so many easy ways to prevent the problem.

and then there are SO many ways to address the waste you do still create.  everyone, from a flat to a house, yard or no yard, can compost.  from under-sink electric composters to backyard earth machines to homemade worm bins that can be right in your kitchen, there are a million ways to let your food turn back into rich earth that everyone loves.  not a gardener?  i can bet you that someone you know would LOVE your compost!

industrial and commercial food waste is a huge issue as well, and the increase in composting programs with businesses has made a considerable financial difference for businesses who participate.  why?  it costs DOUBLE  to bring garbage to the transfer station than organic matter. 

YOU CANNOT PUT COMPOSTABLE PACKAGING/DINNERWARE/UTENSILS IN YOUR BACKYARD BIN, AND THEY DON’T DEGRADE IN THE LANDFILL.  much of these products are made from non-renewable resources or, like corn, actually rob our food supply.  your compost bin in the back yard does not get hot enough – only commercial composting facilities can take these items.

THEY DON’T BENEFIT THE COMPOST PILE – no nutritional value to help your soil.  it’s ‘filler’.

YOU CAN’T RECYCLE THESE EITHER – corn ‘plastic’ is garbage. 

Use reusable plates.  Don’t buy things in packages you can’t recycle.  Bring your own containers and fill up in the bulk aisle (it’s WAY cheaper!).  Respect your earth and its sanctity.  Allow yourself to evolve and make the changes.  Each week, each month, each year you can do more.  It’s  not about being a treehugger, if that word bothers you. It’s about taking care of yourself, your family, your community, your world.  Taking accountability, learning and growing and sharing and being and living. 

Let it be simple.

Not happening in your city?  Doesn’t make it impossible – that’s what the word grassroots is all about.  Educate others, get involved in your communities, and don’t let a few naysayers stop you from doing the right thing.  Set the example – be the change you want to see in the world.

A few websites to provide inspiration…

Fork It Over – contrary to common misconceptions it is NOT illegal (it’s protected federally) for restaurants, caterers, grocers, and others to donate their leftover food.  This is Portland’s program and website.

American Wasteland – Amazing book recommended to me, now on my list to read.  “As more people are going hungry while simultaneously more people are morbidly obese, American Wasteland sheds light on the history, culture, and mindset of waste while exploring the parallel eco-friendly and sustainable-food movements. As the era of unprecedented prosperity comes to an end, it’s time to reexamine our culture of excess.”

Portland Composts! – 75% of landfill waste comes from businesses.  This is my city’s voluntary program. 54,000 tons of food waste and food-contaminated paper enter the commercial waste stream each year.  Ugh.  My last company, a government agency, started a composting program and it was an amazing success in the most staid of environments – why?  It saved MONEY. 

The Earth Machine – this is the compost bin I’ve had for 5 years.  Under $40.  Simple.  Easy.  Composting is NOT hard and you can disregard the exactness that so many instructional sites like to intimidate with.  The science is just to make it decompose faster -check this site out for the basics of what you can toss in there – you’d be surprised!!

Eat Your Trash to Improve Your Cooking – great website to get the most of of some of those interesting things that are left over Frugal Food – lots of ways to be eco-friendly, conscious of your food usage, and make yummy things!


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