Food Insecurity is defined as the lack of sufficient, healthy, and culturally appropriate food. According to USDA statistics, 12.3% of households were classified as having low or very low food security in 2016. This means things like worrying about how to pay for food, not having enough food, skipping meals. In the richest country in the world, there are families who don’t have enough to eat. And I think that’s wrong.
What makes this worse for me, is that in the food-service industry I am able to see, first-hand, how much plain, stupid waste of food takes place. Digging deeper, I’ve learned that 20% of food purchased in the US today, on average, goes uneaten. 90% of that wasted food is thrown out too soon. On average, 20lbs of food per person, per month, is wasted. And I think that’s not just wrong, but idiotic.
In short, it seems to me that if we have a group of people who don’t have enough food, and this other larger group of people who have more than they can use, well, that’s a problem. But what can we do about it? I support these actions, and encourage all of you to do the same.
- Most importantly, act to reduce or eliminate food waste in your own home. I am working on this by using meal planning, leftover capture and use (many of my recipes and meal plans will feature this concept), modular recipes (meaning only buying and cooking enough for the number of people eating the meal), and rotation of stock (first in, first out).
- Support organizations such as Feeding America, both financially and with your time as a volunteer.
- Support legislation and local ordinances and regulations that permit stores and restaurants to donate perfectly good uneaten food instead of throwing it away, and protect those businesses from liability if they donate in good faith. In some countries this sort of thing is required by law, which I don’t think is a bad idea either.
Throwing away food when there are people going without is stupid, almost criminally so. We can fix it. Let’s get busy.