Waste not, want not

I received my March National Geographic and was intrigued by the vegetables on the cover. They reminded me of the many-legged carrots, dented peppers and odd-lobed tomatoes I have grown.

The editor, Susan Goldberg, stated that 800 million people world-wide go hungry each year and we throw away perfectly good food because it isn’t pretty enough to sell. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we squander 2.9 trillion pounds of food world-wide, more than enough to feed the 800 million hungry twice-over.

So where is all this food? Twenty percent is lost in picking – it is too small, or misshapen. Three percent is lost in shipping, two percent lost in processing, nine percent thrown out at grocery stores, and a whopping 19 percent wasted at home, uneaten.

If I am doing my math right, that is 53 percent of our food supply wasted while 800 million men, women and children go to bed hungry. This bothers me.

Food waste bothered Jesus too. He commanded his disciples to gather the left-overs when He fed the 5,000 (John 6:12). I’m not sure what He planned to do with leftover fish, but He had a plan. I cannot feed all the world’s hungry any more than I can bring home every orphaned child or homeless dog.

But I believe Jesus expects me to do my part, or we would not have the lesson in John 6. So here’s my plan. I vow to eat everything I put in my refrigerator. If I cook too much, I can eat it for a week or freeze some for later. Not in the mood for salad but the lettuce is ready to turn to mush? Too bad. Got to have salad today. Next time don’t buy as much at a time.

The 19 percent wasted will not happen here. In addition, I will stop being a vegetable snob when shopping, insisting on perfect of produce. An odd apple, an oval tomato and a dented pepper will find the way into my cart, if the grocery store even accepts them to sell.

My plan doesn’t feed the world but it makes me responsible for what I have been given. What about you? Are you wasting 19 percent of your food? Are you willing to do something about it? What else can we do? Have a blessed, filling, and insightful week my friends.


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