Systematic food waste can seem like a daunting problem. The pandemic has highlighted the ugly sides of our broken system where whole fields of vegetables are plowed under or gallons of milk have to be dumped because there is no market for the product. For me, those scenes of hard work and resources being thrown away sparked a sense of urgency, but also helplessness. Nobody wants to see food thrown away, but how can I help? Can I even make a difference?
The good news is yes you can! According to ReFED, nearly 85% of food waste within the United State occurs within consumer facing businesses and homes. Businesses and food generators like restaurants, caterers, and grocery stores play a critical role in reducing food waste. However, individuals and families do as well. Due to the pandemic we watched food fly off of the shelves, as people with the resources to do so stocked up, out of fear of losing access to it. While this included many canned and non-perishable goods, it also included fresh produce, meat and other quickly perishable items that may not have even made it to your plate. You and your family have an opportunity to make a major impact by reducing food waste within your own home on a daily basis.
But where do I start? We’ve made it easy and fun for the whole family to get involved! Below you can find downloadable versions of our Personal Food Waste Tracker, as well as our Kid Friendly Food Waste Coloring Sheet + Instructions. Check out these resources for a fun way to incorporate food reduction practices into your home!
Personal food waste trackers/diaries are a simple way to create a basic level of understanding and awareness of how much you are throwing away. Utilizing these tools can help encourage you or your family to think before throwing out last night’s leftovers or that so called “expired” yogurt that is perfectly fine. Tracking allows you to become more aware of your habits, and as a result will help you waste less food AND save money. It’s a win-win!
Are you a commercial or corporate business that finds itself with extra food and don’t know where to take it? We’ve got you covered. Create an account online or download our Chowbank App.
We’ll help connect you with our partner organizations around Des Moines who could use the extra food to help their clients in need.