Our food system is radically inefficient. In 2019, the U.S. let a huge 35% of the 229 million tons of food available go unsold or uneaten. We call this surplus food, and while a very small portion of it is donated to those in need and more is recycled, the vast majority becomes food waste, which goes straight to landfills, incineration, or down the drain, or is simply left in the fields to rot. Overall, ReFED estimates that 24% of all food in the U.S. – 54 million tons – goes to these waste destinations.
That’s almost 90 billion meals’ worth of food that we’re letting go unsold or uneaten each year, roughly 2% of U.S. GDP!
Taking Action To Help Cut Food Waste: 3 Quick Steps
Every household in the United States can do small actions to make a big impact on Food Waste.
SHOP SMARTER. Every household buys too much food. 43% of the food that ends up in landfills comes from individuals. And it is food that doesn’t need to be thrown away. SOLUTION: Buy what you need. Think ahead and make lists of the recipes and meals you will prepare–and prepare them! Get on Instagram and start jotting down some of those amazing meal recipes and then buy only what you need for that week. Sure, it’s a hassle to have to go to the store a couple of times a week, but think about all the food destroying our atmosphere!!
STORE YOUR FOOD CORRECTLY. Be curious about your food–knowing which foods can sit on the counter. For instance, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, and onions should never be refrigerated. These items should be kept at room temperature. Other items should NOT be stored together. For example, foods that produce more ethylene gas than those that don’t is another great way to reduce food spoilage. Ethylene promotes ripening in foods and could lead to spoilage. Bananas, Avocados, Tomatoes, Cantaloupes, Peaches, Pears, Green onions –you want to keep potatoes, apples, leafy greens, berries, and peppers away from them to avoid premature spoilage.
DON’T BE JUDGEMENTAL WITH YOUR PRODUCE. This is the most ironic of all the tips (and there are many, many more!) Ugly fruits and vegetables get tossed every day–by you, by your family, even by the grocery stores. But “ugly” doesn’t mean not incredibly delicious and nutritious. A carrot with two tails is just a carrot with two tails–it shouldn’t be scary or avoided. Some Italian cooks swear by the “ugly tomatoes” they find in the markets and some grocery chains are even saving space for those delicious odd-shaped produce items. think out of the box and reach for items that are more likely to be unsold and tossed…I am sure that somewhere in heaven you will get extra points for not being judgmental!! Check out some of our fun recipes for ugly food here.
If each one of us can stop food waste at home–the problem begins to shrink. Here is a great resource from the EPA. Stop Food Waste
The Good News?
Food Waste is a solvable problem
Every household can do something to stop food waste. Start with the three simple steps above and be mindful that we are wasting food.
Then, Volunteer your time and efforts to help rescue food. Yes, RESCUE food! It is a real thing. Food Finders goes out every day and picks up thousands of pounds of good food that would normally end up in landfills. Through our network of volunteers, we rescue the food and then deliver it to community partners who service families in our neighborhoods. The benefits of Food Rescue Volunteering include, helping our planet and preserving millions of gallons of water from waste, but did you know that in rescuing food you are also helping to feed millions of people?
Hunger is a problem and food Insecurity is a complex issue (and we are not here to solve that.) What we are working toward is a solution to feeding and nourishing people (families, children, and seniors) who need access to food.
Feeding people is important to our community and to our economy. When people are nourished and fed they feel better, and perform better in school and in their jobs. We all benefit. When Food Finders picks up food from a grocery store or bakery, we give it to local non-profits at no cost, so that they can feed their community. We are feeding all of our communities!
Make time to be a Food Waste Hero
It doesn’t take much to be a hero.
All of us have two to three hours a week to offer a helping hand. That’s one less Netflix movie watched, or several hundred mindless moments gained not swiping through our social media feed. And what if you could do something that changed the earth, impacted people’s lives, and also gave you something really cool to post on your Instagram? Being a Food Rescue Hero has perks!!
Volunteer This Month To Help
If you live in or near Long Beach, California, we have got something really important coming up. The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) is closing for the summer on the 15th & 16th of June. They do a really great job of donating excess food several days a week throughout the school year, but at the year-end, it’s time to empty out the cupboards and refrigerators so that nothing goes to waste.
Food Finders has over 80 Schools in Long Beach that are closing for the summer and we need all hands on deck to collect and deliver the food. Here are the details:
Wednesday, June 15th from 1 PM to 3 PM
Thursday, June 16th from 8 AM to 11 AM
Reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator, Kevin via email or call him at (562) 283-1400 x 112 if you can help Food Finders to rescue all of this food from over 80 schools in Long Beach!
There are many ways to make an impact on the world. Unfortunately, with all the messages being thrown at us via TV and social media, we begin to think that what we do as an individual isn’t that important.
At Food Finders, we can absolutely, without any reservations, tell you that one person can make a huge impact when working alongside others who believe in the same mission. For 33 years, this organization has been growing. From one idea, in one garage, with one woman who shared her mission with others. That power of one–with your help–fed thousands of families this month.
Think About the Entire Process Behind Our Mission
Eliminating Food Waste. First, you must find places where food is being discarded–close to expiration date, or bruised apples for example. Then there must be a place to bring the food. It must be a place that can store or redistribute the food before it really goes bad. Once located, then there must be people in place who can pick up the food and deliver it. And finally, someone must be on the receiving end when that delivery arrives. It is all coordinated and ready to repeat Monday through Friday–week in and week out!
Food Donors: With Food Finders as their partner, Food donors are given an option to have someone come in and take food that would be thrown out, and now can be repurposed through donation elsewhere. By not throwing food away, our landfills are reduced, and then our C02 emissions begin to fall–which will impact us and future generations.
Community Partners: These are local non-profits that can take food donations. Food Finders works to find committed and caring organizations that work every day to eliminate hunger. Food Finders found the food and the means to deliver it. These partners are now reaching out to distribute this food allowing people in food-insecure communities to gather at home and prepare a nutritious meal for their families.
So many pieces are threaded thread together to make our mission a reality. It is not just technology, or vehicles, or reports, or boxes, but people! What makes this all work are people with a shared purpose. Each of us believes that eliminating food waste will change lives.
The Impact of All of Us
When people eat nutritious food, we all win! They feel better; they learn more and their lives improve because their bodies are nourished. In this process, each of us ensures that this goal, this shared mission, is served from beginning to end. Together we do this—one committed person handing off to another until the circle is closed, and we begin again tomorrow.
Every dollar donated creates 11 meals. One pick-up and delivery can turn into hundreds of meals. Never doubt that your efforts and contributions to Food Finders do not make an impact. They make all the difference to many people in your community every day!
Are you someone who is looking to make a greater impact in your community, then reach out to us at (562) 282-1400.
There are many ways in which you can help to impact the reduction of food waste and hunger:
#1volunteer your time. It is your time, so why not use it to change your own community? learn more
#2make a donation that will allow us to rescue more food and repurpose it: Donate
#3share! Share our posts on Instagram or Facebook, or share this newsletter and page. Just sharing our message with others brings awareness and advocacy that can make a huge impact one day!
If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate
Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.