How Much Food Do We Waste?

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Susie Sutphin

Susie Sutphin › Susie Sutphin is an organic farmer and freelance marketer in North Tahoe, CA. She manages the ...


Food waste is a much bigger issue than we realize. It’s an aspect of the current food system that doesn’t get as much attention as pesticides or GMOs, but food waste is definitely worthy of our attention.

We can be so mindful of the food before it gets to our kitchen (How was it raised? How local is it?), but we often let that diligence slip once we’ve cooked it. The amount of food we waste isn’t just a matter to be scraped off your plate into the trash.

Susie Sutphin recently reflected on the food waste problem and points out that it’s not just the end product we’re throwing away, but the precious natural resources that went into making it.

The holidays are always a good time to revisit the amount of waste we generate in this country because probably at no other time during the year is more waste produced than during the holidays. It’s a good reminder, too, that no longer is recycle the operative word but REDUCE! If we consume less, there’s less energy and resources used to produce and less stuff to throw away.

NPR’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow had a great interview this past Friday, November 23rd, about the amount of food wasted in the United States. Here is a link to the podcast. On the show was Dana Gunders, Project Scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland.

Over 40% of the food produced in the US gets thrown away and only 3% of it gets recycled or composted. When you consider that 50% of the land in the US is in agricultural production, we are squandering a lot of land not to mention a lot of food. In the process, we are exploiting the natural resources used to produce that food such as fossil fuels for farm equipment, water for irrigation and soil fertility. And with water becoming a finite resource, it’s scary to think that 80% of the water used in this country goes to growing food.

Click here to read the rest of the article over on The Food Chronicles!

How do you try to minimize your food waste? 

This article originally appeared on The Food Chronicles. It is partially posted here with permission from the author.

Photo Credit: Tomiko Peirano