April 21st, 2018| Topic: RaMbLeS | 2


A study published last week, “Relationship Between Food Waste, Diet Quality, and Environmental Sustainability,” in PLOS One, revealed some stunning findings.

In America, between 2007 and 2014, nearly 150,000 tons (150 million kilos) of food were wasted a day, about one pound per person! Vegetables made up 39% of that, dairy 17%, and meat 14%. Salty snacks, table oils, egg dishes, candy, and soft drinks were least likely to be disposed. In other words, the good stuff was being thrown out!

It was calculated that the land used to grow the food that piles up in the trash was 30 million acres—7% of the total US cropland—using up about 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigation water! Not to mention 780 million pounds of pesticide and 1.8 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer. All gone to waste, each year. And likely a lot of greenhouse gas emissions, too, from the wasted agriculture.

Lead author Zach Conrad of the US Department of Agriculture:

What we’re reporting is about 25 percent of the food that’s available for consumption gets wasted. And there are some other data sets that are showing, that across the entire food system, it’s about 30 to 40 percent.”

Waste of calories. Waste of environmental resources. Waste of financial resources.

The study did not analyze why exactly so much food was being wasted.

Speculated Meredith Niles, professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Vermont, and a co-author of the study:

Perhaps the fruit and vegetables discarded were flawed, or had gone bad. Perhaps there is confusion about expiration dates. Perhaps it’s got to do with too large a portion size. Just because a banana has a bruise on it, doesn’t mean we have to throw it away. We can repurpose it—maybe we don’t want to eat it straight but we could put it in a smoothie or we can blend it up and make banana bread.”

What can be done? Education, for sure. Noted the authors:

Increasing consumers’ knowledge about how to prepare and store fruits and vegetables will be one of the practical solutions to reducing food waste.”

Added Niles:

We should be thinking about the multiple strategies we have to make sure food isn’t getting wasted at the same time.”

About three millennia ago, a wise sage made an observation:

Have you found honey? Eat only what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
Proverbs 25:16

Maybe he should have said, “Buy only what you need ….”

In any case, there is a “story” in this Proverb, a story of prodigality and wastage. Remember that there were no apiaries in those days, no avid beekeepers and honey wholesalers. You found the good stuff. Accidentally. While wandering in the forest. Sometimes in the corpse of a lion (I kid you not!)

[Samson] turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion;
and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion.
Judges 14:8

In other words, you didn’t do anything to deserve this delicacy. You found it. It was God’s grace alone. And that goes not just for food, of course, but for everything in life, life itself included.

What do you have that you did not receive?
And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
1 Corinthians 4:7

And so I take this honey—for which I have not worked—consume it all, and convert it into vomit, useless for the next guy or gal wandering the forest. Waste!

“Eat/buy only what you need.”

Wise words!


  1. Scout April 22, 2018 at 7:30 am

    I clean up my plate. Maybe smaller portions is what you are after.
    But, what if I have to listen to many sermons in a week? How can I take it all in?


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