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Maybe you've already read the bad news about food waste: The world (that's all of us) is throwing away about half the food produced on our Earth, according to a new report from the United Kingdom's Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), titled "Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not."

Avoiding Food Waste

Tim Fox of IMechE said:

The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world's growing population – as well as those in hunger today. It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.

Ending food waste is more important than ever. If you really stretch your brain, the "children are starving in Ethiopia" argument your parents used at the dinner table might have some merit to it. Food waste happens at every single level (though for different reasons): farms, food producers, grocery stores, restaurants, families, individuals. As our population and lifestyles stretch what the Earth is capable of handling, the impacts of food waste at each of these levels is becoming more evident. The water used to grow the celery wilting away in my refrigerator, the fuels used to transport it to my neighborhood grocery store, the energy used to keep it cold both at the store and in my home: they all go to waste if I don't eat that celery in time. Not to mention, that's money spent I'll never get back. The effects aren't just suffered by my pocketbook. They're suffered by the Earth and the global population. We're just that interconnected at this point.

Food waste is a complex issue. We've written about it on the Heifer Blog in a number of posts:

Wherever you fit into the chain of food waste, pledge to do better. Have any tips? Share them in the comments section.


Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She and her husband raise two daughters in a house way too small for their four pets. They spend a lot of time sweeping.