Earth Week Day 3 - Waste

Why should we care about our waste and our food waste? 

In 2019, the city of St. Louis Park hosted a documentary showing called "Wasted- The Story of Food Waste". The documentary starts with some terrifying statistics about food waste:  - 1/3 of all food produced is never eaten - Over 90% of wasted food in the US ends up in landfills - 800 million people are starving - 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year - Food production is the single biggest cause of deforestation, the single biggest cause of water extraction, and the single biggest cause of habitat & biodiversity loss.  These statistics leaving this showing in aw and feeling like I needed to do more. I have always cared about recycling and composting, I thought I did my part in the battle against food waste. But I decided to get more intentional about it, and while some parts are really easy, others not so much.  Some other reasons, if you need more than the statistics above, are that food wasted is money wasted. It's wasted effort on the behalf of the workers who harvested ingredients, worked the factories, packaged the food, drove & stocked the food. it's a waste of the resources that went into that food, the land use, the water, the fertilizer, the plastic or paper, the oil and gases. It contributes major amounts of methane gas into the air that contributes to climate change. And it's taking food away from others who need it. Food waste happens on all levels of production, from on the farm, to the production, to the restaurants, to the grocery stores and finally to your homes. But we can all do our part to be better.  Some ways we can do that are:  - Grow your own (it's shown that people who grow their own food waste less because they see how much effort it takes to grow it!)  - Plan your meals, and make a grocery list of things you will use - Get creative with your meals by 'shopping' in your kitchen first  - Learn how to use every part of a vegetable (some fun recipes are below!)  - Eat your leftovers (you can even jazz them up and make them into something new)  - Learn how to store food properly - Teach yourself how to can or freeze food! 

We have put together a couple of videos for you to watch of recipes our team has made with otherwise wasted food scraps. 

First we have, Chef Patrick Conway, he is an active member of the American Culinary Federation, Minneapolis Chefs Chapter for over 25 years, Patrick has been named Chef of the Year and is a recipient of the Hans Gilgan award as Member of the Year. He continues to volunteer with numerous community projects.

Here he is making Broccoli Stalk Hummus

Next, we have Caleb, who was an intern with SLP SEEDS in 2019, and now is a Board Member and Apprentice. As a vegetarian, and someone who cares deeply about sustainability, here he is making a vegetable broth with his leftovers

I have also pulled together a couple more resources for recipes to help you reduce your food waste at home:

Almost inevitably, we are still going to produce food waste.

We have answers to that as well. With over 90% of the food wasted in the US going into landfills, that food rots without sufficient oxygen and methane gas is produced. When this gas is released, it is a huge contributor to the greenhouse gases making Climate Change a reality. Food should never be in landfills, and thankfully many cities have adopted organics waste as a step in the right direction. But those organic waste bins should still be the last resort. - First, the food should feed people. If you can't eat it before it goes bad, freeze it or turn it into something that can be stored.  - Use all parts of the food.  - If you have access to animals, feed them next.  - Get a Vermicompost bin and feed your worms!  - Put whatever is left in the compost bin (personal or city-wide) 

The City of St. Louis Park has an amazing crew working to make people more conscience of what we throw away, how we throw it away, and what happens to it after. 

Regardless if you live in St. Louis Park or not, these guides & workshops will be really helpful, but before throwing things away, check out your local solid waste department to make sure you're disposing in the correct way for the bins they have! 


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