On average, 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry. Elizabeth Iwunwa writes about what we can do to end hunger in an abundant society. Pixabay

Speaking out: We can feed the world's hungry

By  Elizabeth Iwunwa, Speaking Out
  • January 26, 2018

In our world today, it seems that food is everywhere, but there is not a bite to eat.

I recently stumbled on an Instagram post showing a photo of a garbage can that contained perfectly good food with the caption mentioning the pervasiveness of waste. When an ongoing class project required my classmates and I to tackle an issue that irked us, this stood out for me.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about a third of the food produced for human consumption all over the world gets lost or wasted.

That is roughly 1.3 billion tonnes a year.

This information is a tough pill to swallow especially when images of starving children flash through our television screens as non-profit organizations ask for funds to care for them.

It is estimated that about half of food waste comes from the home while the rest occurs throughout the value chain.

Food leaves a waste trail right from when it is harvested to when it is processed, packaged, transported, stored, bought, sold, prepared and served. It will take creativity and intentional living, but I believe reducing waste is possible.

France has laws banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying food. This forces them to donate food to charities and food banks.

Woolworths, a major retailer in Australia, diverted 20,000 tonnes of food waste in 2015 alone that otherwise would have ended up in landfill. About 3,000 tonnes went to food charities while the rest was used for things like commercial composting, fertilizer, electricity production and animal feed.

I don’t know anyone who owns a grocery store or a farm, but I know daily consumers of food products. So here’s what you and I can do to help combat the food waste crisis.

If we are spending so much on food, we should be keen on getting the most out of it. There are many recipes online that can help everyday people maximize their food products.

Buy ugly fruit. Odd-looking fruit that is perfectly fine on the inside is often sold at cheaper rates. We can use less-than-perfect vegetables for soups, stir-frys, and purees. Freeze, dry and can as much produce as possible to retain freshness and extend shelf life.

Also, we should make use of what is available. If there are overripe bananas that you’re considering throwing away, add them to a smoothie or consider making banana bread.

We are called to be stewards of the Earth. Let us all work to ensure we do not waste and lose the resources God has entrusted to our care.

One in nine people, on average, go to bed hungry. Our collective vision for a better world must include one in which citizens do not suffer hunger in the face of abundance.

(Iwunwa, 20, is a fourth-year psychology student at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.)

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