With Earth Day right around the corner (April 22nd), we figured we'd put on our activist caps and spread the love for our wonderful planet! A big part of The Sonder Market's mission is to be local and sustainable, minimizing economic and ecological waste by utilizing local food sources. So, when we stumbled upon Monica Reinagel's podcast about the topic, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to bring light to one of the most important issues in our food system - waste.
Monica Reinagel is a Baltimore-based licensed nutritionist who has quite bit to say on a variety of different topics. She is the author of a book on health and dieting titled, The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan, and produces weekly podcasts under the pseudonym, 'Nutrition Diva', on a host of topics from weight loss tips to recommendations on how to squash that fear of public speaking. The explosive success of her writings and podcast, has brought attention to many of the important areas of the American food system.
|Photo courtesy of: Pescetarian Blog|
In Episode 258: 9 Tips for Reducing Food Waste, Reinagel discusses the importance of mindful living and how Americans can make small changes in a big way.
Food waste is costing us more than we realize. According to the USDA, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels went uneaten in 2010. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion.
These numbers are shocking, alone, but as Reinagel points out, what is even more shocking is the environmental degradation that people are largely unaware of. The factory style production of many of the foods we eat today consumes about 90% of the world's fresh water supply and 18% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And worse yet, the inhumane conditions that factory farmed animals are forced to suffer are for not - as we are throwing away about a third of what we produce. These numbers are jarring, and make the issue hard to swallow. Keep in mind, though, that each any every person who participates in the American food system has the ability to make changes that will have lasting effects. Reinagel stresses this in her podcast, and provides a few tips on how to do just that.
Tip 1: Plan your meals in advance. Meal planning cuts down over-buying, over-spending, and ultimately the amount that goes unused.
Tip 2: Re-purpose and EAT leftovers. So often we wrap our extra prepared foods up and store them only to forget about them and throw them away when they spoil. Re-purposing these leftovers into new dishes make them more palatable. Storing leftovers in clear containers makes it easier to see what you're working with, and more difficult to forget that they are there.
Tip 3: Redistribute & compost items that you are not able to re-purpose. While consuming foods is better than composting, composting is a much more positive alternative than throwing food items in the garbage.
- compost --> reduce use of nitrogen based fertilizers
There are several other tips and tricks mentioned in the podcast, and many that we implement and appreciate at Sonder. While the numbers can be scary and overwhelming at times, we find it helpful to remember that you can do your part by being aware and mindful of your own personal lifestyle and habits. Even taking the time to read, listen, and learn about the issue of food waste is taking a positive step towards creating change. For more information and tips check out some of the links below.
"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have."