When your produce gets wasted, it’s really a cry for help

Grist

When Nick Papadopoulos looked at all the veggies that didn’t sell at the farmers market, he felt terrible. Papadopoulos is general manager of Bloomfield Organics, and he’d seen all the sweat, all the nutrients, all the coaxing and coddling that it had taken to persuade the land to produce this bounty. These were beautiful, well-proportioned, organic vegetables! And now they were bound for the compost heap. He sipped his beer and thought, there has to be a better way.

We end up throwing out a lot of the food we grow. According to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council, we’re tossing 40 percent of our food, the equivalent of $165 billion wasted — giant lakes of water, mountains of fertilizer, and megajoules of energy, all squandered.

If we’re interested in scaling up regional food systems, we’re going to need a lot more reasonably priced, locally grown…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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3 Responses to When your produce gets wasted, it’s really a cry for help

  1. EQFE says:

    “The ideal solution would be to produce fewer calories per person and pay a little more for it — enough so eaters will actually value the food they buy, and enough to support strong farming communities. If we start paying farmers a truly fair price for environmentally responsible, high-quality food, we’ll have tons of entrepreneurs working overtime on those other three solutions, and cashing in on waste.” I follow a number of market growers on social media, and all of them write things like this weekly. The produce very high quality, locally grown, often organic food that I can’t actually afford to buy. Some of them have greatly reduced their waste by cutting out any middle men, not using farmers markets, and selling boxed produce directly to the consumer. Many use the subscription method where customers agree to buy food by the season or yearly at an agreed weekly prices. Others list on their web sight what will be in that week’s box and allow customers to order by week at $25.00 a week.
    A great deal of waste is built into the current system which requires vast quantities of perishable food to be on display in markets. Wasted food, it’s a constant refrain in the US especially on the various food channels on TV. A famous chef will go to one of his suppliers. Usually a very high end market that sells the type of high end expensive produce that top chef’s love. The vender then shows the chef a garbage dumpster of food that he through out that day. Food that is still edible, but certainly food that the chef wouldn’t buy. My though is always if you cared so much, you would have donated it to a food bank the day before.
    Every time one of goes to the market, and picks the freshest of the fruits and vegetables on display, we help ensure that the not so fresh, not so perfect will be tossed out. The alternative is either for the markets to reduce the price of the less fresh, donate it, or I suppose we could all decide to make bad purchasing decisions. Only one of the veggie markets I go to has a clearance area, and being as cheap as I am, I use it.
    It’s ironic, that in the US, for the most part, eating locally, unless you either live in California, or grow your own is almost always more expensive. Economies of scale, and raising food where the conditions are optimal usually results in lower cost, even after shipping and handling. We have a local markets that sells only organic food and food grown locally. As soon as I hit the lottery I intend to shop there.

    • argylesock says:

      Where you live, do market traders sell today’s fresh produce at reduced prices at the end of the day? That happens here in Britain. It’s accessible only to some – those who live or work near the market, those who can access the market, those who can be there at the bargain time, those who can transport the produce – but for some people, this is a great way to buy food. It’s popular with students.

  2. EQFE says:

    To be honest I don’t know. We have a nearby farmer’s market, but when they are up and running with local produce, So it my garden. I should really check it out.

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