It’s frightening to think about just how much edible food is wasted in the United States each year. Earlier this week, the Guardian reported that one-third of all foodstuffs — about 60 tons, worth $160 billion — is wasted by retailers and consumers every year.
(Unfortunately, those numbers concur with worldwide waste: On the global level, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that one-third of all food grown is lost or wasted, estimated at $3 trillion. To visualize it: That amount of food would cover all five New York boroughs, as well as Jersey City and Newark.)
But the unfathomable quantity of waste (according to the EPA, discarded food is the biggest single component of landfills and incinerators) isn’t made up of the lettuce that your family (and millions of others) forgot about, or the leftovers you never quite got to.
Food is wasted at all levels of production, well before it reaches your home.
To hedge risks of insects, blight, and weather — and to protect themselves against the fluctuation of supply and demand — growers often over-plant, which results in surplus crop and never-harvested fields... Read more