Monday, March 5, 2012


"The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit--and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.

And the smell of rot fills the country."
(John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath)

Food waste, especially this account by John Steinbeck of the Great Depression, can just about curdle my blood. I've seen too much destitution to tolerate waste. 

This page will be under construction as I gather a few more sources, but let the discussion begin with the findings of Griffin et al., 2009.

Food waste represents the loss of precious nutrients from the products of expensive natural resources and human labor. The U.S. County that was analyzed created 10,205 tons of food waste per year. The abstract reads,

"Of all food waste, production waste comprised 20%, processing 1%, distribution 19%, and 60% of food waste was generated by consumers. Less than one-third (28%) of total food waste was recovered via composting (25%) and food donations (3%), and over 7,000 tons (72%) were landfilled. More than 8.8 billion kilocalories of food were wasted, enough to feed county residents for 1.5 months. This case study offers an example of procedures to quantify and compare food waste across a whole community food system."

Obviously, this study represents one single county from which we can't derive generalizations, but this will be a good point for an intermission and discussion before I present more information on Wednesday.

What do you Think?

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