Diamond Marie Pedroza
Web Content Contributor
Did you know that a staggering amount of food produced globally is thrown away instead of given away? In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the U.S. wastes around 40 percent of its food supply yearly.
In the 2014 documentary, “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story,” a couple spends six months determined to not waste any food. They only eat discarded food or food that is going to be discarded.
The documentary shows that the two main criteria for why edible food is thrown away is that it is aesthetically unpleasing or that it is harder to economically provide for free to populations in need of food.
One year after “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story” premiered, the company, Imperfect Foods appeared. The company delivers unwanted, surplus, or unappealing to look at foods to consumers’ homes.
Though some food organizations are making strides to work with food banks and other similar organizations that help feed the homeless and people in need, the pandemic severely affected how food is treated.
Farmers have wasted food during the pandemic; however, most have not done this out of spite.
Farming communities across the U.S. immediately felt the impact of the chaotic onset of COVID-19. When schools and restaurants closed, they lost a majority of their customer base.
Farmers were forced to throw thousands of gallons of milk away in states, like Wisconsin and Ohio. In fact, “the nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, estimates that farmers are[were] dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk each day,” stated The New York Times.
Destroying millions of pounds of fresh food, including potatoes, cabbage, apples, onions, other vegetables and fruit, also became a commonality during the summer of 2020. This was because perishable items need to be stored properly, and the large quantity of unsold perishable items overwhelmed farmers storage units.
Matters worsened for the livestock. For example, chickens were euthanized in unbelievable numbers, because farmers were either unwilling or unable to send the chickens to rescues. One farm in Albany, Minnesota euthanized over 61,000 hens.
The “expense of harvesting and the lack of profit” are deterrents to donating food, reported CNBC. Luckily, some farms were able to set up large donations for food banks and Meals on Wheels.
The stark realities that COVID-19 has highlighted around the world are disheartening. The total loss of food in 2020 may forever be unknown, because the U.S. was not the only country affected by growing food waste.
The struggle to lessen food waste is never-ending, but hopefully with more establishments opening up to customers in 2021, food waste has lessened.
The United Nations recently released a guide on how to reduce individual food waste. The top three tips are to eat a more sustainable diet, only buy what you need, and don’t buy fruits and vegetables based on aesthetics.
Here is the trailer for “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story,” which is currently available on YouTube and Tubi for free:
Featured Image by Diamond Marie Pedroza