Blogpost Writer: Mariana Lainfiesta
There you are, sitting at the restaurant having a laugh with your friends, and you completely forget about the dish in front of you getting cold. Hours pass, and you end up eating only half of the portion you asked for and leave without a moment’s pause because you ended with a full and happy stomach.
Did you know that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted annually?
Sadly enough, some countries are greater culprits than others; according to the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN), the total amount of food wasted in the U.S. exceeds that of the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, France, and Germany combined. Moreover, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that global food production accounts for 70 percent of fresh water use and 80 percent of deforestation. Food production is also the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and creates at least 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
If you want to make a difference, there’s no excuse to do so. UNEP recently launched Think.Eat.Save, an initiative that is working with groups around the world to develop and coordinate projects to prevent the environmental problems that can result from food loss and food waste.
Be part of the U.N. initiative and support the Sustainable Development Goal #12: Responsible consumption and production by working to reduce the tremendous food waste and loss that occurs throughout the world.
You’re probably wonder, how can I do it though?
We’ve compiled a list of 5 organizations working in restaurants, businesses, and on farms to make sure all of the labor and natural resources that go into growing, processing, and marketing food doesn’t go to waste.
- Culinary Misfits (Berlin, Germany) –Started by two friends, Culinary Misfits seeks out the ugly vegetables at grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants and turns them into delectable dishes at the events they cater in the city.
- FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies) (European Union) – After recognizing that the European Union discards approximately 89 million tons of food every year, Brussels has pledged, through the FUSIONS program, to reduce that number by half by the year 2025. Currently in development, FUSIONS hopes to tackle the issue throughout the supply chain, working with farmers so that they don’t reject less-than-perfect-looking produce. And they work with grocery stores to offer discounts to consumers on products that are nearing their expiration dates.
- Think.Eat.Save (International) – This initiative, launched by the U.N. Environment Programme and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, works to reverse food loss and food waste by providing consumers, retailers, leaders and the community with advice and ways to take action to reduce their yearly food waste. The campaign aggregates and shares different methods of conserving food, including policy recommendations and steps that consumers and households can take on their own to prevent waste.
- Sanford and Son (Illinois, United States) – Sanford and Son is a father-and-son company that works in the West Side of Chicago to repurpose food waste for urban farms. Ray Sanford and his son Nigel recycle food waste from restaurants and private homes and convert it into organic compost, which is then distributed to urban farms to use as fertilizer. They claim to save 226 kilograms (500 pounds) of organic waste for each family that uses their composting services.
- DC Central Kitchen (District of Columbia, United States) – From the 370,131 kilograms (816,000 pounds) of food it recovered in 2011, DC Central Kitchen provided almost 2 million meals to those in need in the DC area. In addition to recovering food from organizations and restaurants, DC Central also offers local farmers fair prices for their produce, helping to contribute to the local economy.
These initiatives cover a wide range of sectors – private businesses, universities,and nonprofit organizations – and illustrate the extent to which collaboration is the key to change.
Join us and let’s make a change together. Leave no one behind.