6 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste

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Food waste is a major problem in America. Here’s how you can make a difference – starting now.

Did you know that some estimates show that 40% of the food we produce in America goes to waste? Considering the state of our landfills, not to mention the fact that millions of people across the globe go hungry every day, this is a huge problem.

The good news is, this is a problem that each of us, individually, can do something about. In fact, you have the power to start making a difference in reducing food waste right now.

While there are certainly other areas where waste is rampant (such as in our food supply chain), the bulk of waste food actually comes from regular consumers like you and me.

You can make a change starting today, by creating less wasteful habits and behaviors in your own household.

Here are 6 easy tips to reducing food waste at home:

1.) Shop Smart. Becoming conscious of food waste means elevating meal planning to an exact science. To the extent possible, plan your weekly food supply in advance and buy only what you need. Purchases made on a whim are often those that sit on the shelf at home until they are stale or rotten, eventually ending up in the garbage. The old-fashioned approach of making a shopping list based on recipe quantities can go a long way toward preventing the purchase of unnecessary items, but today there are a host of food shopping apps designed specifically for the waste-conscious consumer.


2.) Buy Ugly Produce! A tremendous amount of the food produce never makes it to the grocery store shelf, because of blemishes, overripeness, small size, or other imperfections—nothing that makes it inedible. But that’s changing, as “ugly produce” becomes a new niche market. For example, Whole Foods just announced a partnership with Imperfect Produce, one of many recent startups on a mission to re-route produce destined for the compost pile or landfill.

3.) Organize the Refrigerator and Pantry. Each time you bring home a load of groceries, make sure to pay attention to all the edible food that is still in the house and make a plan to use it before it goes bad. The acronym FIFO—first in, first out—has been coined as a reminder to consume perishable items in the order they are purchased. On a practical basis, this is made simple by putting new items in the back of the refrigerator or pantry, while rotating older items to the front where you will be more likely to notice them and put them to use before they go bad.


4.) Plan Your Plantings. Growing your own produce is one way to get around the food waste problem altogether, but even in your own garden there’s plenty of opportunity to improve efficiency. Garden planning involves estimating how many seedlings you actually need to plant based on the amount of each crop you can realistically consume. Timing is everything—you can only eat so much broccoli each week, but by staggering your plantings over time you’ll avoid a glut and enjoy a steady supply instead…

5.) Preserve the Harvest. An excess of a particular crop doesn’t result in wasted food if you can find a way to preserve it for later. Freezing, canning, and drying are essential skills in a waste-conscious household. Rather then view these tasks as chores, plan a food preservation party with your gardening friends where everyone brings their excess produce to the table and exchanges recipes and techniques.


6.) Compost. We will never prevent every last lettuce leaf from going bad, but that is less of an issue if it goes back to the land, rather than into the landfill. Composting converts food waste into an asset for food production, whether in your own backyard or on farmland—if you can’t eat it yourself, let the worms enjoy it – and build great soil for growing more!

For more tips, check out the full article at ModernFarmer.com


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