It is dinner time and you open the door to the fridge and think to yourself that there is nothing to eat. Maybe you just don’t want to prepare the food, or eat the leftovers, or maybe you had a hankering for eating out. What if you looked in the fridge and there really was nothing?
Going hungry is not a third world country problem. These are our neighbors, our coworkers, our children’s classmates. It is the older woman you see at the park, the cute baby in the stroller at the mall, and the teenager waiting for the bus.
Food Security is defined as the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. This is a right EVERYONE should have.
How often do we forget some fresh produce in the crisper and find it trying crawl out of the bin like some creature from the Black Lagoon? Have you ever wondered what was originally in that Tupperware that has been in the work lunchroom for three weeks? Have you been curious where stores hide their ripe bananas or what happens to the products that near their expiry date? What do farmers do with the fruit that have blemishes? The ugly truth is it all gets thrown away in amounts so vast that it is is incomprehensible and this food could be feeding our community (well not the groady food you discovered on an archeological dig into your fridge but what the remnants of your discovery was BEFORE you wasted it).
Remember when your mom said to eat your vegetables because there are starving kids in Africa? There are starving kids in North America too and what we do personally affects all of us as a group.
Helping Harvest is working in my community to rescue food from local farms that would be thrown away and can it to help stock Food Bank shelves. This approach addresses a few issues of food insecurity. Limiting waste early on in the food production cycle is a big deal and making the food available to people in need is vital. Fresh food is brought to the food banks often, but as with our own food at home, shelf life is limited so Helping Harvest is putting up food for the winter to stock shelves in leaner times. The organization also sells their canned, rescued delicacies at Farmer’s markets and craft fairs. This helps fund the program and raise awareness about the rather taboo topic of food waste.
I cannot stress enough that we as individuals need to be more aware of how our grocery purchases can change the world for the positive.