The Epidemic of Food Waste
Have you ever thrown out food that was still perfectly good to eat? Be honest, no one is keeping score. If so, you have contributed to the food shortage facing this entire planet. That said, you shouldn’t feel too bad. The handful of food you can’t get down is nothing compared to the tons of food that is dumped or burned by farms. We have a serious problem on our hands and the only way to fix it is to raise awareness across the board.
Growing food is not an altruistic profession. Farmers grow food to be paid for the crop that they grow. If for whatever reason they can’t be paid for the food they grow, what do you think they do? On the one hand, they can hand out the excess food to needy communities. On the other hand, they can burn the excess food to keep their prices high.
If you think they are doing the former, you aren’t paying attention. The truth is, food production in America is not about feeding our population. It’s about making a profit. Americans waste 165 billion dollars in food. That means 1 in 4 calories produced never get consumed. Is it because there isn’t enough food for everyone?
The average American family wastes ¼ of the food they purchase. This is understandable. When food is plentiful, it’s not a big deal. It’s not until food become scarce that it becomes a serious issue.
However, the fact is, before the food even gets to the grocery store (let alone the dinner table) it is curtailed by those trying to make more money from it.
Fun fact: Tons of strawberries were destroyed in Australia because there was a scare of fruit with needles in them and people weren’t buying them.
To be fair, this isn’t a statement saying that people should have bought the potentially dangerous strawberries. However, this is most definitely a statement saying that destroying food that people could eat, because it isn’t selling as well as you would like is absolutely wrong. The fact that excess food isn’t distributed to the less fortunate is a stain on our society that no amount of rationalization will wipe away.
In America, food will always be a numbers game. If a certain crop isn’t making enough, get rid of it. If this sounds wrong to you, you are not alone. Is there a way to fix this problem at a federal level? Unfortunately, probably not.
Is there a shortage of food in America? Absolutely not! Are there families in America who will go hungry tonight? 100% yes. Is there a good reason for this discrepancy? No. This happens because those with money want to keep their money as opposed to helping those who don’t have money.
On the one hand, people who have money have no specific obligation to those who don’t. However, it is that very distinction that creates division in this country.
There is no amount of money that makes one person more human than another. Unfortunately, we get so caught up in status that we forget this very simple truth. This issue is more important than just the money you can save by wasting less. It’s about the people we could save if we weren’t so concerned about profit as a society. In looking for a more positive way to end this discussion, I realized there isn’t really one. There are no hard fast solutions, just a sad reality. Sometimes, that’s how it goes.