The World Wastes Half Its Food!

| 8/25/2008 9:44:34 AM

What a Waste! 

Wasted Food

It’s hard to believe, but a 2008 policy brief from the Stockholm International Water Institute, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Water Management Institute states the world wastes nearly half the food it produces. That’s right — half. And because agriculture is responsible for 80 percent of our nation’s consumptive water usage, that amount of wasted food means even more wasted water at a time when many struggle to conserve. According to the three organizations, we're producing more than enough food to feed the growing world population; we just need to figure out how to put it all to use.

You may be thinking that this news has a brilliant silver lining, and you'd be correct. We already produce enough food to feed the world. That’s a relief, but now for the tough part: How do we get the world to make better use of its food resources? 


Jamie K._1
8/19/2010 11:02:30 AM

The HOA concept is one of the worst problems out there. "Can't compost, can't grow a veggie, can't dry your close on a line, have to use Chemlawn, etc....". If you care about the environment, don't live there or work very hard (good luck) to get the rules changed. Unfortunately most environmental education curricula in schools is about rain forests and oceans and safari animals - oh my! Not much out there for "real life" experiences such as the food system. When budgets are tight, guess which curriculum gets the axe first? I am fortunate enough to work as a non-formal educator who gives presentations to schools about soil/water resources and where real food comes from. We have a large garden and agricultural conservation area for kids (many from inner-city) for hands-on experience. We often get teachers who say "I didn't know potatoes grow under ground" and other statements of basic lack of understanding about food and the environment. If they don't know, how can they teach kids about it? With most people being "too busy" to even bother serving real food, this idea of "cheap assembly line factory food a-plenty" keeps the illusion that we can just keep making more with no inputs or consequences.

8/9/2010 12:08:11 AM

I grew up in a rural area, on a small family farm and many of its associated animals. As an adult, however, I now live in a city, under the strictures of a HOA. Unfortunately, our HOA and city have rules in place that limit what kind and how many animals we may own, as well as what kind of plants we may use in visible places for landscaping. We DO compost anything we can and I try to make use of other leftovers as dog food or in soups and stews. I actually LIKE the large serving sizes at many restaurants, as the leftovers usually will serve my family of 5 for at least one, and usually more, additional meal. I like that, as it means I get a break from being the resident "chief cook and bottle washer". I grew up spending a good portion of each year with grandparents who were born before WWI and lived through both it, the Great Depression, and WWII and ALL the difficulties they entailed. I try to live up to the thrifty lessons they handed down to my parents and to my self. We all need to teach these lessons at home and in school.

8/5/2010 1:08:57 PM

There are many good points here, but one point has been completely overlooked. Restaurants. Have you every gone out for family dining and noticed the amount of food that gets loaded on to every plate. Half of it is left on the plate. Especially by small children. It's true that we should teach our children not to overeat, but we should also refuse to eat where they consistently overload a plate. Buy only what you can eat. It sends a strong message.

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