Yep, I waste food. I try really hard not to and I’m overwhelmed with guilt when I do, but despite my best efforts, it still happens. That nasty-looking photo at right is my compost and atop that pile of egg shells and corn husks are several carrots that were perfectly usable until I forgot about them in the refrigerator.
This is especially atrocious as I’m one of two reporters working on a series of stories about the growing problem of food waste. The latest installment, which ran today, is about food waste in the home.
Americans waste 90 billion pounds of food each year. It’s not just the food, but the water and the land that grows that food that goes to waste (about 24% of all water used for growing crops goes toward food that gets wasted). And rotting food in landfills create methane gas that contributes greatly to global warming.
I’m getting better at not wasting food as I work on this series. But I’ve still got a ways to go. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. You know how it is. You shop for the week, with your menu all planned out and then a friend unexpectedly comes into town and takes you out to dinner. Or you work late and it’s just easier to stop at Chipotle than it is to start a meal from scratch at 7:30 p.m.
So, I’m vowing to do a better job. Anybody out there want to join me? The story include a list of tips, some surprising, about how to not waste food. And Ramona the Super Nonwaster shares how she keeps her garbage can almost empty in my profile of her. I’ve adopted some of these techniques in the course of writing this story. For me, forcing myself to buy smaller portions has helped a lot. This means skipping the grocery store (where the cauliflower is as always as big as my head) in favor of the farmers market, where you can buy a baby cauliflower that’s perfect for a side dish. KMK Farms at the Vineyard Farmers Market is particularly good at these pint-size veggies, I’ve found. And containing my excitement has helped too. Those strawberries look so amazing I get all worked up and buy a whole flat, when I should really be buying one basket. (And did you know that Whole Foods and Vons will cut produce such as watermelon in half for you? More on that in the story.)
How about you? What changes have you made that cut down on waste? And who wants to join me in an effort to cut back on the 90 billion pounds of food that’s thrown away each year?