"The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry.... The acts of charity you do not perform are so much injustices you commit." — SAINT BASIL THE GREAT

"The kind of society that would waste this much food is one that doesn't value the earth or the products it produces. It's in our own personal detriment to continue the process." — DR. TIMOTHY JONES
Eat Trash
For me, an important first step to really caring about the issue of food waste was hopping in a dumpster, bringing home the food, and eating it. Eating trash is a subversive act. It goes against a culture of over-consumption and gratuitous wastefulness. Experience that initial rush, shame, fear, and exhilaration of "stealing" trash and eating it will change you in good ways.

Second, I think it's important to go to your local grocery store and ask what they do with their food waste. They might not tell you. Or they'll dodge the question by listing organizations to which they donate. Ask them about all the FRESH food--meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Ask them if they would be open to allowing you to pick this food up and bring it to a nonprofit that serves the needy. Do all of this with a pleasant tone, big smile, and servant's heart.


Third, you'll need a place to bring the food, so you'll have to locate a shelter or food bank in your area that could use the food. This is where logistics comes into play. They'll need to be able to immediately use or temporarily store fresh food....shelving space, refrigerators, freezers. This step actually happens at the same time as visiting your local grocery stores. You will probably need a letter from the shelter or food bank stating their needs, requesting donations, and naming you or your family/friends/organization/church as the volunteer designated to pick up the food.

"Forfeit your sense of awe, let your conceit diminish your ability to revere, and the universe becomes a market place for you." — ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL
People First, Zero Waste
Everyone is familiar with the 3 R's of going green, but there needs to be a fourth one added to the list...REDISTRIBUTE. Start with one of the greenest stores in the market, Whole Foods. Their "Green Mission," as they call it, should begin with people. Any scrap of non-toxic, pesticide-free, super-expensive, organic food should first go to people who need it. After this option has been pursued to the utmost, then the food can be fed to livestock or turned into compost.

This same policy of "People First, Zero Waste" should be demanded of Trader Joe's by everyone who shops there. If enough people expressed how important this issue is and even suggested that their business might go elsewhere, Trader Joe's might quickly adopt this policy at the corporate level and become a model for other grocery chains. (Note: many individual TJ's give food, some even give ALL soon-to-be-expired food, but this needs to happen in all their stores every day.)

"I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it." — VINCENT VAN GOGH

*This physical act of getting involved, wrestling with the problem and finding immediate solutions, and the daily act of where we shop and what we buy, has to be complemented by political actions that push our leaders to enact just laws and establish just systems. Use the power of your voice, practice democracy!, and join with organizations like Bread for the World.

*Does your town/city have a food policy council? If so, consider participating. If not, consider starting one.
Farmer in Chief a NY Times article by Michael Pollan.
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan.
Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal by Tristram Stuart.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.

"'But now,' says the Once-ler, 'Now that you're here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.'" — DR. SEUSS
Wasted Food
Bread for the World
World Food Day, October 16th
Second Harvest Food Bank
Feeding America
World Food Program
Food, Inc.
God Provides Food Bank

"The meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum total of my achievements. It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures with the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time." — THOMAS MERTON