Sunday, May 18, 2008

Eating less to feed more

With grocery bills rising, food banks running short, and food shortages causing riots in many poor countries, it's time to change how we think about food consumption.

The problem can be tackled with various strategies; one is to cut down on the amount of food people pile on their plates.


Some restaurants are beginning to offer two portion sizes, bravo!

College cafeterias have eliminated trays, so students must carry each plate to the table.


I avoid buffet-style restaurants.
Waste is built-in: no one wants to amble down a buffet line with scanty offerings.

What happens to that potato salad or chicken tikka at the end of the day? Some use agencies like Second Harvest to pick up uneaten food, but many simply throw it out.


I learned in an article in The New York Times on Sunday, May 18 ("One Country's Scraps, Another Country's Meal" by Andrew Martin) that edible food wasted in 1995 by US retailers, food service businesses and consumers amounted to roughly
a pound of waste per day for every adult and child in the nation.

In England, a recent study reports that Britons toss away a third of the food they purchase, a figure that shocked me.


Food has been cheap in North America, and portions increasingly huge. As the article says, "Eliminating food waste won't solve world hunger and greenhouse gas pollution (from dumped leftovers). But it could make a dent in this country and wouldn't require a huge amount of effort or money."

2 comments:

greying pixie said...

Yes, I despair at the amount of waste there is. I try really hard to instill in my children the concept of living frugally, but it is difficult in today's world of affluence. I guess growing up in 1960s Britain mine is the last generation to feel the impact of WWII.

But as we are in for rather ghastly economic times, perhaps the old ideas will begin to return - grandmother's recipes that made a chicken last a week, etc.

s. said...

I do waste food, I'm afraid. But I have one "regular" compost bin and two "vermiculture" compost bins so at least much of the food stays sur place and is turned into wonderful natural organic matter that feeds my tiny garden's soil.