From the article “Feeding the hungry while tackling food waste” by #MaryJoDiLonardo via @mothernaturenet
“It all started as a simple way to tackle two huge problems: hunger and food waste. A few members of a temple in metro Atlanta wanted to take leftover fresh food from grocery stores and restaurants and quickly deliver it to agencies that provide food to those in need. People would get fed, and the perishable food wouldn’t get wasted.” [DiLonardo:2016]
I am sure you have, at some point, wondered what happens to food in grocery stores once it is past its sell-by date. Well, it gets thrown away; much like you would just chuck your leftovers into the bin. Have you ever considered that this food could feed someone? We live in an ignorant world; on the one hand we have the ever growing problem of global hunger and starvation and on the other hand we have pollution and billions of people trashing their leftovers and stores dumping their ‘old’ food in landfills.
The FAO states in their article ‘Key facts on food loss and waste you should know!’ that nearly one third of the food produced worldwide every year gets lost or wasted. That is approximately 1,3 billion tonnes of still viable food! [FAO:2016]. Have a look at the statistics:
Per capita food losses and waste, at consumption and pre-consumptions stages,
in different regions [FAO:2016]
They continue to say the following:
· The food currently lost or wasted in Latin America could feed 300 million people.
· The food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people.
· The food currently lost in Africa could feed 300 million people. [FAO:2016]
According to the FAO, “even if just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.” [FAO:2016] This makes one think, doesn’t it? You can read the full article about the statistics of food waste here: bit.ly/2fqNAAU.
Now, compare this to the World Food Organization’s statistics of world hunger. The WFO says that “Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth.” [WFP:2016] It doesn’t make sense, does it? (You can read the WFO’s notes about present hunger statistics here: bit.ly/2eC8axh.)
I began this post with a quote from an article by Mary Jo DiLonardo. She tells the story of a group of volunteers in Atlanta, Georgia who is trying to change this cycle of food waste and food insecurity. The group started small; as a social action project more than a decade ago. Today the powerhouse NPO called “Second Helpings Atlanta has 62 donors, 31 partner agencies and a team of more than 350 volunteer drivers who hit the streets every day to pick up and drop off perishable food.” [DiLonardo:2016].
Executive Director Joe Labriola says that the challenge is to get the food from those who have it to those who need it. They collect food from restaurants, school cafeterias, grocery stores, etc. and deliver it to food pantries or community food programmes. According to Labriola they currently have around 125 scheduled food pickups and deliveries per week.
He further holds that it is not impossible to implement similar actions in other cities around the world and, looking at the statistics above, I am sure it will be possible.
You can read about this magical programme here: bit.ly/2foEhiM and, who knows, perhaps you can become a power in your own community, driving a similar action and helping to end hunger in your part of the world.
Remember, like our own Nelson Mandela used to say, everything seems impossible until it is done!
- DILONARDO, Mary Jo. 2016. Feeding the hungry while tackling food waste. [Web:] www.mnn.com (Mother Nature Network). [Date of Access:] November 6, 2016.
- FAO. 2016. Key facts on food loss and waste you should know! [Web:] www.fao.org (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). [Date of Access:] November 6, 2016.
- WFP. 2016. Hunger Statistics. [Web:] www.wfp.org (World Food Programme). [Date of Access:] November 6, 2016.