"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 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
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.
Bring a copy of THE GOOD SAMARITAN ACT
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
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE....REDISTRIBUTE
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
*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.
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