In the near future there may be a food security crisis. The United States Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO for short, claims that in 2016, roughly 11% of the world’s population went undernourished. In 30 years it is estimated that there will be over 9 billion people on earth to feed. According to FAO’s website, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year. This is about ⅓ of the world’s yearly food production. Wasted food is also a waste of the water, land, and labor put into making it. Using different ways to prevent food waste could help fix the problem of having to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050. Food can be wasted for different reasons such as poor farming techniques, over abundance on displays in supermarkets, consumers pickiness, or even through restaurant goers not eating leftovers.
Some farms allow a lot of food to go to waste. Many farmers purposely waste their crops. According to the Food Print website, if the market is bad and the price of food is less than the cost of labor and transportation, then there is no point in harvesting. It is more economically beneficial to these farmers to let their crops rot in the fields.
Luckily, plowing this compost back into the field can help enrich the soil. Other farmers may feed it to pigs or farm animals. Another way farms may combate waste is by allowing gleaning. This means that food organizations can send volunteers to pick the leftover crops. These crops may have been missed by machines, left by farmers, or too ugly to sell. Then they can be taken to food pantries were the poor and hungry can get fresh produce which they need for proper nutrition.
Many farmers plant extra crops than what is demanded by consumers. They do this because they know many crops will be wasted due to bugs and weather destroying their crops. Crop scientist, Dr. Sarah Taber, says that open-field farming is one reason for food waste. She says, “Produce that has been exposed to the environment often goes bad faster.”If we had more greenhouse farms then we would have less waste. However, in the United States, we use many open-field farms because the land, water, and labor is cheap.
Not only is food wasted in the farming stage, but it is also wasted in supermarkets. Many times stores will over stock produce. This is to make it more appealing to the customer and give them a wider variety of choices. Customers will search for the perfect bunch of bananas or the nicest container of strawberries. This is not wrong, however, if this food is not purchased in time, it can go bad. When it goes bad it sometimes might be thrown out. Bakery food can go bad too. It can get stale or old, and then thrown out. If the food is perishable, it makes it harder to be sent to food pantries. Some stores produce a lot of food waste. They do not know how or where to donate this extra food.
Fortunately, other stores are good at reducing waste. One way to get rid of food before it goes bad is by discounting the food. They can also donate it salvage stores, food shelters, and soup pantries. This benefits the stores because they may be able to get a tax write off for their donation.
Most food is truly wasted in restaurants. Restaurants sometimes over predict the amount of food they need to feed customers. If they do not use up this food, it goes bad and is thrown out. Restaurants also tend to serve portion sizes that at twice as much as normal. Customers who do not eat all the food on their plates will either leave it for the restaurant to throw out, or take it home as leftovers where they sometimes are also tossed. Lastly, food at restaurants is thrown into the garbage to be taken to landfills instead composting it.
Some restaurants are taking action to prevent food waste. It is important for them to buy the right amount of food for their demand. Certain apps allow restaurants and stores to advertise their extra food. Then customers can pick it up for a cheaper price. This way the food is still being eaten and the restaurant is not losing money. Some donations also pick up extra food from restaurants as well. Lastly, food is wasted through the shoppers and consumers themselves. National Geographics estimates that a family of four in America wastes about $1,484 of food every year.
One way it is wasted is through a lack of knowledge. Some think the sell by dates and best by dates are the same. However, the sell by date is only to ensure the finest quality food is on the stores’ shelves. These foods are usually good for a week after this date. Unknowing families may be throwing out food that is fine, just because they did not understant the dates labels.
If the food has actually started to get old, before the family could eat it, then they could use it for other things. One can use soured milk for cake, brown bananas for banana bread, or turn toast into bread crumbs and croutons. Overall, families need to be aware of how much they realistically will eat. They need to make an effort to use up the food they have through thrifty and creative methods.
Overall, America does waste a lot of food, but people are trying to fix this. Farmers donate their food. Many great apps allow people and places to sell discounted food. Food shelters feed the hungry in America. All this is helpful, but there are still many people starving in other countries.
There is enough food for everyone on earth. According to National Geographics, all the farmers in the world produce enough food to feed everyone. They produce enough for everyone to get about 2,868 calories. This is more than the daily caloric need. Still, people in undeveloped countries sadly go undernourished or hungry for many reasons.
The main problem is that they do not have access to this food. There are many people around the world who live in poverty. Action Against Hunger states that “780 million people, 11 percent of the world’s population, live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per day.” Much of this poverty is in Asia and Africa. Most of these people have to spend the majority of their income just to get by with enough food for their family.
Other reasons for this global hunger are because of natural disasters, war, and less developed methods of producing and storing food. In the past ten years, the Caribbean country, Haiti, has experienced many disasters. First it was an earthquake. Then multiple hurricanes. Then they had a drought. All this can destroy homes and cause more people to fall into poverty. It also makes it harder for farms to grow food, especially in the case of the drought. War also makes food scarce. During war, farms are abandoned and crops are not harvested. Some enemies may use hunger to attack others. They destroy water sources or farms causing people to go hungry in hopes they surrender. Lastly, some countries just do not have the proper technology to grow and store their food. Much of the food waste happens in the transportation and storage process. They do not have enough money for the technology of refrigerated trucks or storage systems.
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