Tips for Reducing Food Waste this Festive Season

Enviro Page  →  Zero Waste Team  →  Reducing Food Waste

Laura Trotta: “Every time we throw food in the bin we’re not just wasting our money. We’re discarding the vast amounts of resources, energy and water that it took to produce, process, store, refrigerate, transport and cook the food.

Reducing food waste: photo of a vegan dish

Humous with veggies, orange segments and nigella seeds / Credit: Unsplash

Reducing food waste is one of the top five solutions to climate change listed in the New York Times bestseller “Drawdown…” While animal agriculture creates an estimated 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.

As we move through December and into the New Year, let’s remember to reduce food waste and to include vegan and vegetarian dishes in our Winter season feasting.

Suggested Links

Tips for Reducing Food Waste

Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes

Food and Climate Action

Foraging for Wild Mushrooms in Maple Ridge

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reducing food waste: photo of mushroom hunters in a Maple Ridge forest

reducing food waste: photo of mushroom hunters in a Maple Ridge forest

Credit: Slow Food Vancouver

In the photos above, we find a group of friends engaging in an ancient (even timeless) human activity …foraging for mushrooms in a forest. They’re members of the Vancouver chapter of the Slow Food movement.

You might ask: What is Slow Food?

Slow Food is a global movement that pushes back against fast food and industrialized food systems. Its mission includes defending local food traditions, promoting artisanal foods and preserving food biodiversity.

The movement calls for tackling the climate crisis through the adoption of environmentally-friendly practices along all stages of the food supply chain, following a seed-to-landfill trajectory.

A brief foray into the shameful state of food waste in Canada today

At the intersection of food, conviviality, agriculture, social justice and everyday climate action … we conclude with a brief foray into the shameful state of food waste in Canada today.

According to Second Harvest: Each year, nearly 60% of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted. That’s 35.5 tonnes of food, or nearly $50 billion, lost annually. Furthermore, organic material in landfills produces methane gas that’s 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide emissions.

Nova Scotia farmer Richard Melvin reluctantly throws away enough cauliflower to feed a province. Despite being “perfectly good to eat,” up to 40 per cent of his 36 hectares of cauliflower gets plowed back into the ground each year. He’s looking for financial help to give surplus crops to food-insecure Canadians.

photo of a farmer in field holding heads of cauliflower in each hand

Credit: Jacqueline Melvin

photo of worker tossing produce into a huge pile of wasted fruits and vegetables

Credit: Ben Nelms/Reuters

In Langley BC, a worker dumps “pre-consumer food waste” which is fed to black soldier fly larvae to produce animal feed, at Enterra Feed Corporation.

(Edible insects are promoted as a solution to future global food shortages. But critics argue that black soldier fly farming is not an ideal solution for global food waste because it entrenches industrial animal agriculture and diverts attention from deeper food systems transformation.)

Simon Fraser University food researcher Tammara Soma says blame the system for food waste on BC farms and not the farmer. The main problems include shoppers who won’t buy imperfect fruits and veggies, a global food system that creates rock-bottom prices for produce, a decline in local food processors, and a lack of incentives to give away surplus food.

Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau would not answer the question when asked if Ottawa would consider funding to help farmers salvage crops that would otherwise go wasted.


Food Waste in Canada

The Facts

December food eco-challenge: graphic on food waste in Canada width=
December food eco-challenge: graphic on food waste in Canada

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