By Phara Cholot

As human beings, we think about food at least five times a day. Those food thoughts can vary from what you had for lunch, to what you’re making for dinner. They can even include your attempt to figure out what that secret ingredient is; the one that makes grandma’s macaroni and cheese so delectable. Yum. As for myself, I think about food all of the time, especially in terms of its effect on our world. Food waste is an enormous problem, and the problem areas vary from production to processing to distribution etc. To some people food waste may not seem that significant, but when you look at it in terms of large amounts, food waste is contributed to by residential uses, colleges, restaurants, hospitals, cafes, cruise ships, hotels, and more. Once you see the bigger picture you become more open to actually acknowledging that there is a problem.

As the years of unsustainable food practices continue, and as food waste rates surge, we are beginning to see the effects. The effects vary from food insecurity to the lack of nutrient-rich foods because the demand for food has skyrocketed. Additionally the mass production of genetically modified foods has increased in order to help consumers attain the nutritional values that they need. To be frank, the amount of food that is wasted is ridiculous. Especially when there is such a largely underserved community that continuously suffers due to food waste. In order to help heal our planet and the problems we have caused due to our selfish behaviors as a society we need to be mindful of where exactly we are putting our dollars and how we will hold contributing establishments accountable. I am well aware that lowering an establishment’s level of food waste takes time, but we could look at ways to use one ingredient for multiple dishes. This in turn would reduce food waste and ensure that patrons/consumers receive fresh goods because of the constant rotation. Donating the overstock of goods to the Humboldt Mutual Aid, Food for people and other local shelters are also possible solutions. There are many ways that we can begin to reduce food waste, but you can start by asking is this trash, or could I make a meal out of this? Or go further and ask yourself could this help someone struggling?