Stop Wasting Food!

A few days ago I wrote Haunted by an Image of Pizza, a post about the huge mounds of half-eaten pizza I saw in dumpster behind a restaurant. I’ve always believed that food was sacred, and that it was a sin to waste anything edible. I despise food fights in movies and scenes where people trash leftovers instead of carefully saving them. Too often, the characters take a few bites of food and scrape the rest in the trash can or garbage disposal, and this ruins the movie for me. It shows a pattern of disregard for food that viewers consciously or unconsciously pick up on.

Besides, how can I empathize with a character who wastes food? I never waste food. I buy only what I can eat before the food goes bad, and when/if I cook, I always store what is left. Leftovers is a term I never use. I believe there is no such thing as leftover food, just a precooked meal. (And to way of thinking, if food smells and looks fresh, it’s still edible. Expiration dates seem more like an expiration of liability than the expiration of food. I’ve eaten eggs that are still fresh two weeks after the expiration date, and canned goods a year or even two after the date.)

Someone left a comment on that post that I would like to share with you. I ended my blog with “I can’t do anything about the situation, either to help the homeless fellow or deal with the discarded food, but still, the image stays with me.” She responded:

Why do you feel like you can’t do anything about the situation? Who do you think can? I will link a couple of articles and a video that I think you (and everyone else) should read/watch. Note the quote “Everybody is waiting for somebody else to take action.”

I can’t emphasise enough that this IS everybody’s responsibility, especially those of us in the privileged position to live in countries with surplus food as opposed to none, and you CAN do something to help the situation.

People are starving all over the world, yet we are so greedy, we order/cook/buy more than we can eat, and throw away the rest. The world produces enough food to feed each person on the globe 2,700 calories per day. (Read more at No one needs to go hungry.

We’ve been taught that the aesthetics of food is important, and we can be taught that food with blemishes and such things as crooked carrots can be pleasing, too.

As Mahatma Ghandi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

2 Responses to “Stop Wasting Food!”

  1. ROD MARSDEN Says:

    Ghandi may have been right back then. Today I honestly don’t know.

    A lot of agriculture throughout the world is driven by crude oil. This cannot continue. The machines that power our farm equipment from tractors to aircraft that spray fields against insect infestation are petrol hungry. New ways of farming will be needed in the future and the end result may not be the bumper crops we are all used to seeing and needing.

    Mistakes in farming what was basically prairie land were made in the USA and these mistakes culminated in the dust bowl disaster of the 1930s which was almost repeated in the 1950s.

    It cost the American people a lot and hard lessons had to be learned but the end result was the knowledge that you can only push the land so far. You can only push the land so far before your GREED for continuous bumper crops ends in no crops at all.

    Not picking here on Americans since in Australia we have had our own problems with pushing the land too far. In Australia as well as in parts of the USA there has been the rising salt problem the end result of which can make farmland completely useless. The answer? Plant trees to keep the good soil in place and to counter the rising of underground salt tables.

    In recent years in Australia the Murray/Darling river system has fallen on hard times because of farming overuse. There have been water buy backs from the government to save what can be saved of this great waterway. Drought conditions ended but when drought returns who know how the river system will respond.

    There is now a desalination plant in NSW we’re paying a hell of a lot for in terms of rates. I used to pay something like $25 a quarter. Now I pay close to $200 a quarter for water. It was proposed and built during a time of drought and has yet to be used. Even so the very idea of having a need for such a plant is scary.

    So continued food supplies as we have know them for a couple of generations are by no means a continuing certainty. Perhaps we could feed the starving of the world today with what we throw away. I don’t know but this will not continue into the future because it cannot.

    The world is overpopulated and there is continuing strain on resources. Wasting food like wasting other resources is deplorable but it will take more than giving what we throw away to those who need it to reverse the present trend toward future disaster.

    Know the land and respect the land are paramount. Finding new less water hungry and oil hungry ways of farming are important. Our overall society is based on greed and wastage. This has to change.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      The food situation is scary enough in an overpopulated world. The water situation is truly terrifying. I can see that in the future there won’t be wars fought over oil, but over water and water rights. Not a pretty picture.

      It’s odd to me that the warnings have been in place for more than fifty years, and yet the greed and waste and overpopulating continue.

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