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How Zero Food Waste Just Might Save the World

food waste

Can zero food waste save the world?

Sometimes it seems like the world is falling apart before our eyes: climate change is irreversible. Arctic ice is crumbling just as quickly as the Great Barrier Reef is being destroyed. We have more plastic in our oceans than fish. Half a billion people go to sleep at night hungry. There are so many problems, and there seems to be so little you can do. But sometimes a little can be a lot.

The 2016 EAT Stockholm Food Forum reminds us that complex problems are often solved with simple solutions. British chef attendee Jamie Oliver spoke about his  Food Revolution and how global issues all relate back to something simple, something that we all desire and need: food. Our food system is the underlying source that links our globalized world. How we subsidize, grow, trade, cook, process, waste, and eat food matter.

Simple answers like zero waste are important goals. It’s said that we waste one in three mouthfuls of food every day. That wasted food took money to grow; money that could have stimulated economic development and aided poverty. That wasted food took water to thrive; water that could have fought droughts or remained in lakes to support biodiversity. That wasted food produced carbon during its manufacture, process, and transport; carbon that could have remained out of our atmosphere. Too bad that wasted food didn’t make it’s way to the people who go hungry each day.

This is all easy to say, but how do we achieve it?  According to Jamie Oliver, here’s how you start:

  1. Think thoughtfully and critically about food.
  2. Buy food, not products, eat less meat and more vegetables.
  3. Hold your friends and government accountable for their food usage and sustainable practices.
  4. Believe those little things count, because if each person changes, then we will collectively make an enormous impact.

The goal isn’t to solve all of the world’s problems in a day. It’s just zero waste. The rest will follow.