Wednesday, November 4, 2015

One Third of All Food Bought in Ireland Ends Up In The Dustbin. What a Waste!

Harvesting my soya beans with Sophie lying across my shoulders

Many hours shelling and drying that one kg of soya beans!

Plenty of carrots but a long time coming!

When you harvest a solitary carrot, you become glad of every morsel

One third of all food is binned!!!
60% of it is avoidable: This includes plate scrapings, leftovers, gone-off fruit and vegetables, passed their sell-by date perishables.
All we need to do is plan more carefully. Radical though it might sound, a shopping list would be good.

If you present a bowl in the centre of your table, people can help themselves and what remains in that bowl will still look appetizing next meal, unlike if you've served the lot up on the off chance.

We are talking a million tonnes of good vegetables, meat, fish and dairy thrown out, in Ireland alone.
This is surplus not waste, if we handle it right.

If you are a farm, a supermarket, a family, a restaurant or a business that has more than you need then start to think of ways to reduce that amount.

Donate to charity: One brilliant woman at Food Glorious Food came up with an app originally found at but now I think its called Food Cloud. This connects surplus food to charities who need it. Just before close of business, bakeries or restaurants or supermarkets can drop them a line and they'll leg it out and distribute it.

This is a new problem. Only a generation ago people ate what there was available but now potatoes that are not perfectly round, have an eye or two in them or a graze from being dug up or aren't washed do not even make it to the shops. Just ploughed back into the ground when there are

One Billion people are dying of hunger. One million babies a year from malnutrition.

And we throw away
50% Fruit
20% Bread
50% of vegetables
50% Salad
10% of meat
10% carrot

An average cost of 700-1000 euro per year. IN England £30 of food A WEEK.

This is not only hugely offensive when so many are hungry but it doesn't just go away.
Food and garden waste in landfills is a disaster. Its wet, it provides anaerobic conditions to generate a huge amount of methane gas and other green house gases.

50,000 tonnes of mowed grass a year as well. Come on, try grass cycling next year, don't cut too short and leave the clippings on the grass, they will actually make the lawn stronger. Because a blade of grass is 85% water it decomposes quickly and the nutrients can feed the soil below.

So I invite you to join me in a 'Trim Your Bin Challenge'
Separate what you throw away
Become aware of what you have excess of
Record your waste
Identify reasons like it went out of date, was a left over that got forgotten about. They were unavoidable peelings.

Soon you will discover a consistent theme and work out what is being wasted and why. You will save yourself money, help the planet and maybe even help your fellow man and animal by not wasting anything that has gone to the trouble of growing in the first place!!

Another real clincher for me has been growing my own vegetables and fruit. Last year I harvested one kg exactly of soya beans. They were epic but I spread them out, a little handful made into tofu once a week all winter. My friend said to consider how much protein I might need and speculated the crop would last the winter. I loved that. But isn't that totally different to when you buy chick peas or rice or anything else. With chick peas I wouldn't have thought twice about soaking half a kg at once, to make a generous bowl of humus. Not any more. I appreciate every little courgette, tomato, carrot and my great harvest of potatoes, which is long gone. Every thing I was given, as I went around teaching as an assistant in Horticulture, I raced home with chopped it up and froze it or arranged an immediate get together when there was too much perishable bounty to eat alone!

Lets Stop Food Waste. That would really make the world a better place.
Two good sources of information are and Hugh's War on Waste which has just started on the television…I gather. I'm kind of glad I don't have a television as I don't like being sold to by the adverts. Subliminal messages that send us out to buy things we don't need and might well eventually throw away!

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