Wasting Away

Date posted: Friday 15 June 2018

"Wasting Away" seems like an appropriate title to use following the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine. But in making this reference, I am thinking about myself, not the victims of severe hunger and malnutrition. I often find myself “wasting away” but only in terms of not making the best use I can of the food in my kitchen.


The journal PLOS ONE recently reported that we in the United States wasted more than 25 percent of our food between 2007 and 2014. I suspect that percentage has not decreased since 2014, either. The article also mentioned that we do a better job of finishing up our nuts, seeds, and potatoes, and that we are far less good about using up fruit and soups. We even waste almost 25% of our bacon! And we waste more than that of sweets/desserts and salty snacks. But even so, those of us with higher quality diets waste more food than those whose food quality is less.


The impact

This means that nearly 4.2 trillion gallons of water are used to produce this uneaten food. Contrast that with the photos of the people, often women and girls, who have to walk literally miles each day just to procure water for their households. There is also the environmental impact of the enormous quantities of fertilizers and pesticides that are used to produce this uneaten food.


The authors of the study said that on a typical day, an average American wasted just a little less than a pound of food. That is about 800 calories per person per day. You and I might consider that wasting or throwing away food might help our diets by reducing that caloric intake, but think of the people around the world for whom those 800 calories might be the difference between life and death.


Purchase food carefully, store it properly, and prepare it well and safely. And, as my mother and grandmother advised, “Clean your plate; remember, others are hungry”. That’s good advice and a bit of God advice, too.


Vernita Kennen

Incarnation Lutheran, Shoreview