Okay, so I am not a selected blogger that the United Nations Environment Program has shortlisted in its Blog Off prior to World Environment Day (5 June 2013). This year’s theme is food waste ‘Think. Eat. Save’ and they are having a competition between bloggers:
This is an issue that I am particularly passionate about, as I see there should be no reason for wasting food. To me it is a waste of resources and I feel terrible throwing away food when there are people going hungry.
So, while I am not a shortlisted blogger, I am a blogger nonetheless and earlier this year, I put forward this ‘letter’ to an editor as part of my attempt to be accepted into a sustainability leadership program. Here are my thoughts on food waste and if you’d like to know what other Bloggers think about it and to vote for one, please visit the UNEP website at the link I provided earlier.
What should the horse meat scandal have brought to light? Apart from the ethical horror of eating what many see as a beautiful animal, it should have brought to light the globilisation of food and its consequently large ecological footprint. While there are complex and interconnected reasons for the large amounts of water and energy that go into producing our food, the value of food and what you and I are willing to pay for it is something that is yet to be discussed in great depth by the mainstream media.
Increasingly we are spending proportionally less of our income on food and therefore there is the expectation that our food will cost less. What this does is place more strain on smaller farmers in favour of large corporate agricultural produce and the rise of the major supermarket chains and their homebrand products.
While some consumers may be happy with the super low prices, this reduction in the value of food could be one contributor towards the significant amounts of food wasted globally (it is estimated that at last half of the food produced around the world goes to waste). Feeding the 925 million of the world’s hungry, addressing climate change and global water shortage may be a daunting task, but there is something that ordinary people can do each time they go to the super market and each time they cook. I’m unsure however that a greater number of people will ask these questions when faced between a $1 carton of milk against the sometimes higher prices that smaller scale locally grown produce may demand.