Food insecurity & food waste areinextricably linked. The more food you have, the lower food is esteemed, themore food you waste.
For example, the Ancient Egyptians, founders of the1st agricultural revolution, created a genius way of preserving their precious,albeit limited, food supply: 2 terracotta pots stacked on top of each other. The space in-between was filled with sand & water: evaporating water removed heat keeping the pot above, where food was kept, at a cooler temperature. Massachusetts Institute of Technology actually created device called Evaptainers evbased on this design to help those in remote 3rd world communities with no access to Woolworths Supermarkets or a fridge minimise food waste & save >5% of their monthly income, so vital for low-income earners.
But in communities where food is always available,wasting food is normal behaviour for us, consumers. Hence the United Nations designated 29 September as "International Day of Awareness of Food Loss & Waste". A day when we're collectively meant to take a minute to think of all the food being wasted around the world, the poor people starving in a 3rd world country, & do our bit by buying a kg of ugly apples for $3.50 instead of pretty apples for $3.99/kg. We may even pick up 1L of milk reduced from 1.20/L to 99c because it's near its expiry date. Who cares that we will throw out (aka waste) 3 apples & 250mL of the milk because we didn't get around to using it, right? Let's be real: forking out a meagre $4.50 on reject fruit & milk is just patting-our-own-back completely ignoring the fact that us consumers are the biggest contributors to food waste because, simple put, we can.
900 million+ tonnes of food was wasted in 2019 according to The Food Waste Index Report 2021 commissioned by the UN Environment Programme. Of that, 17% is attributed to consumers (aka you & I). In other words, wefood eaters waste 160 million tonnes of food p/year. If 1 adult blue whale weighs about 100 tonnes, us food-eaters waste 16 million blue whales worth of food each year.
Although food waste is frequently articulated as anenvironmental crisis due to methane from landfill, commercialisation of the food supply, etc., it appears that our own attitude to food, & the low value we prescribe to always-available-food (& our farmers) is in fact one of the major contributors. Globally "~700 million people were affected by hunger in 2019... & 3 billion people are unable to afford a healthy diet, reducing food waste at home seems the least we can do", according to Deborah Devis in her challenging article in The Canberra Times recently.
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