Series: Sustainability and You

Food should be shared, not thrown away!

by Rolando Galan

There is enough food to feed everyone worldwide, but in the course of a year about 1.3 billion tons of food were wasted by gluttonous human behavior (Buzy).There are currently over 7 billion people on this planet, but in 2013, 867 million people went to bed hungry and about 2 million were suffering from micronutrient deficiencies or malnourishment (Mekouar, ”15. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)”).

Our basic needs for survival are essential: they consist of water, shelter, food, clothing, and air, but what if one or all were to be affected from human pollution and over-consumption? This scenario has become a reality; we have shifted our planet into red alert by the overproduction of food to the amount of food waste we contribute to as a planet. If we continue our trend of wastefulness, we may possibly go back to the way World War II citizens were living as the American government rationed their groceries.

At the beginning of 2015 fall semester, it was challenging to think of a topic as there were so many topics that contribute to the destruction of our planet. I picked food waste as I wanted to measure something more personal. I first needed to start by measuring my own waste. The initial results were depressing to read: in the course of a month, I was wasting about forty to fifty pounds of food. This needed to drastically change.

In order to keep the record of my food consumption and food waste, I developed a monthly excel spreadsheet. This enabled me to become conscious of the amount of food I was buying and wasting. After reading my initial result, I lessened my food waste by only buying groceries that would be used within a week or less. I was able to track my spending and lessen my food waste by 20%.

Part of this project has also encouraged me to volunteer more at a soup kitchen in the Bowery that serves the homeless. I would love to be part of a world where everyone had the right to order a hot meal, but it is not simple yet.