Food Waste, the Future of Food.

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According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, a billion people are hungry, and three billion people are not eating well, if you count obese and overweight people alongside those with micronutrient deficiencies (1).  In the next twelve years the world’s population is anticipated to grow another 1 billion. This would bring the total population to 8.2 Billion people (2).  How will we feed the world in a healthy, yet sustainable way, without ruining our planet in the mean time? According to economist Julian Simon we now have the technology to feed, clothe, and supply energy to an ever growing population for the next 7 billion years’ and contrary to conventional wisdom, population growth would actually increase the food supply, for with more people would come more ideas and inventions (3).  However, in order to change our food system on a global scale we must bridge the gap between these three paradoxes: 1. the imbalance of malnutrition and obesity; 2. the sustainable use of crop production directed to animal feed and the one directed to human consumption; 3. Food waste (every year, 1.3 billion tons of edible food is wasted) and the need to feed the 805 million malnourished people across the planet (2).

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Because of the need to feed the world’s ever growing population, food waste is key to our future food system. “Something in the area of up to half of all that is produced, is wasted. In the undeveloped world, the waste happens before the food gets to people, from lack of roads and proper storage facilities, and the food rots. In the developed world, it’s the staggering amount of food that’s thrown out after it gets to our plates”, said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, an advocacy group for U.S. Farmers (4). Estimates suggest that in the United States 40% of food goes uneaten, resulting in waste of 160 billion pounds of food each year. If we utilized only 30% of food wasted within the United States, we could eliminate food insecurity in the United States (5).

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The world’s first food rescue organization, City Harvest NYC collects roughly 55 million pounds of excess food from restaurants, grocers, bakeries, manufacturers, and farms, and delivers it free of charge to 500 community food programs across the city this year, helping to feed the nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers facing hunger each year.

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According to City Harvest, “Food rescue is the process of safely recovering a surplus food from the supply chain and distributing it to people in need. Not only does food rescue help ensure that millions of Americans have access to quality meals, it is also key to helping combat food waste” (5).

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Reducing food losses by 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables. Increasing the efficiency of our food system is a solution that requires collaborative efforts by businesses, governments and consumers. The U.S. government should conduct a comprehensive study of losses in our food system and set national goals for waste reduction; businesses should seize opportunities to streamline their own operations, reduce food losses and save money; and consumers can waste less food by shopping wisely, knowing when food goes bad, buying produce that is perfectly edible even if it’s less cosmetically attractive, cooking only the amount of food they need, and eating their leftovers (4).

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Another organization utilizing food that would have been otherwise wasted is, the Daily Table (founded by Trader Joe’s ex-president Doug Rauch).  According to Rauch, “The Daily Table is a new kind of retail grocery store that offers fresh produce and grocery items as well as ready-to-cook and grab-n-go prepared meals at truly affordable prices. Our healthy meal options are priced to compete with the fast-food alternatives in the neighborhood. We do all of this by recovering food from supermarkets, growers and food distributors that would otherwise have been wasted. Hunger and wasted food are two problems that can have one solution”.

By educating the world’s population, we can develop plans to eliminate food waste, which can turn into future policy.  The food of the future will be healthy, nutrient rich, and sustainable. Food is plentiful, and hunger is satisfied.  Through education and awareness, we will be able to develop food rescues, functional foods, and better utilization of our land.  Together we can combat world hunger and pave the way for a brighter sustainable future. If you want to learn more about how to change our food system, here is a great list of TED Talks you should watch now!

1.) Bittman, Mark “How to Feed the World,” The New York Times, October 14, 2013:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/opinion/how-to-feed-the-world.html?emc=eta1&_r=

2.) Paradiso,G. (January 2015). The Future of Food: How to Feed 9 Billion People. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gaia-paradiso/the-future-of-food-how        to_b_6497314.html

3.) Belasco,Warren “Future Notes: A Meal-in-a-Pill”. FUSA Food and The Nation 6, pp. 59-74.

 4.) http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/16/us/iyw-city-harvest/

5.) cityharvest.org

 

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Street Art

I have loved graffiti as far back as I can remember. Growing up in Southern California, whenever my family would take road trips, I would bring my sketchbook and try and copy the lettering from the graffiti under bridges. Back then it was usually gang tags and writing, and it wasn’t seen as the art form it is today. I love that graffiti is now seen as the art that it always was, and has been a great way to get kids off the street. With street art going mainstream, it is an inspiration to many. One of my favorite street artists, who is now quite popular is Doze Green.

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Doze Green

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Doze Green

He grew up in New York City and has his work in many galleries including Jonathan Levine gallery. As with others, I also love Banksy, Invader, and Shephard Fairey. I really enjoyed the film, Exit Through the Gift Shop. It was interesting to see the story unfold into the story behind who would become to be known as Mr. Brainwash.

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Mr. Brainwash

Graffiti is a way to express yourself in an artistic way. As seen with Banksy’s work, it can create awareness and evoke change as well. One example of this was his Dismaland being turned into refugee housing.

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Banksy

I enjoyed the Google Street Art Project, one of the artists I enjoyed was Andrey Adno, I love the dimension of his art.

Final Project on Food Waste

40% of produced food goes uneaten every year. If only 15% of this were salvaged we could feed over 25 million hungry Americans every year. Food waste causes global warming in landfills and is the future to feeding the world’s growing population. I would like to do a blog post discussing issues with food waste. This will also include celebrities who are helping provide a solution, as well as organizations such as City Harvest who salvage what would have been wasted food to feed the hungry.

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More Than Honey

More Than Honey is a documentary that discusses the declining bee populations in various places across the world, such as Switzerland and California. I watch a lot of documentaries pertaining to our food system, and I really enjoyed this film. The scenery was breathtaking, the story alarming. The film talks in depth about the declining bee populations, due to what is called Colony Collapse Disorder.

According to the USDA, “Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is syndrome defined as a dead colony with no adult bees or dead bee bodies but with a live queen and usually honey and immature bees still present. No scientific cause for CCD has been proven.” 80% of plant species need bees in order to be pollinated. What is so alarming, is that without bees there would be no pollination, (until something artificial was created of course).

“If bees were to disappear from the globe, mankind would only have four years left to live.” -Albert Einstein 

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There are quite a few documentaries about the issue of declining bees.  Two, that I have seen are: Vanishing of the Bees and Who Killed All the Honey Bees, all of which create awareness, this is the first step in creating change.

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After watching this documentary, I wanted to do more research about any changes that have taken place to policy, or with the statistics regarding bee populations. I found the following on the EPA’s website,

“In 2007, USDA established a CCD Steering Committee with representatives from other government agencies, and academia. EPA is an active participant in the CCD Steering Committee. The Steering Committee has developed the Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan (PDF) (28 pp, 2 MB, About PDF). The plan has four main components:

  1. Survey/Data Collection to determine the extent of CCD and the current status of honey bee colony production and health.
  2. Analysis of Bee Samples to determine the prevalence of various pests and pathogens, bee immunity and stress, and exposure to pesticides.
  3. Hypothesis-Driven Research on four candidate factors including:
    • new and reemerging pathogens,
    • bee pests,
    • environmental and nutritional stresses, and
    • pesticides.
  4. Mitigative/Preventive Measures to improve bee health and habitat and to counter mortality factors.

In October 2013, the CCD Steering Committee hosted the national stakeholder conference on honey bee health. The conference brought together a broad group of stakeholders to examine the federal governement’s course of action to understand collony collapse disorder and honey bee health. Based on input from the stakeholders at this conference, the CCD steering committee is drafting a revised CCD and honey bee health action plan.”

“Once thought to pose a major long term threat to bees, reported cases of CCD have declined substantially over the last five years. The number of hives that do not survive over the winter months – the overall indicator for bee health – has maintained an average of about 28.7 percent since 2006-2007  but dropped to 23.1 percent for the 2014-2015 winter. While winter losses remain somewhat high, the number of those losses attributed to CCD has dropped from roughly 60 percent of total hives lost in 2008 to 31.1 percent in 2013; in initial reports for 2014-2015 losses, CCD is not mentioned.”

I am not sure if this truly means that the issues have been resolved, or if it is another government cover up. As far as social media, there are various hash tags campaigns on Twitter, such as #savethebees. Even if the populations have stopped declining, bees are essential to growing food. Even Morgan Freeman is taking a stand.

 

References:

1.) http://buy.morethanhoneyfilm.com

2.) http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=15572

 

I am Malala

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I am Malala, is the story of Malala Yousafzai, a girl stronger than most. She was attacked by the Taliban, and survived to tell the story. The book tells about her family, education, how the Taliban arrived and how she became targeted. Her story makes you feel thankful for all that you have, and inspires you to do more. We all take life for granted, and it is stories like these, that really make you appreciate the little things.

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Malala is the youngest person to ever be awarded to Nobel Peace Prize.

She is a children’s and women’s rights activist with a focus on education.  She believes that,

“One Child, One Teacher, One Book, and One Pen, can change the world”.

Her 16th birthday July 12th (the first day she spoke after being attacked), was declared Malala Day. She also helped found the Malala Fund. “The Malala Fund’s goal is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities. We work with partners all over the world helping to empower girls and amplify their voices; we invest in local education leaders and programmes; and we advocate for more resources for education and safe schools for every child”(1).

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“Only 2.3 percent of its gross domestic product is allocated to education. Pakistan spends seven times more on its military. According to a recent U.N. study, 5.1 million children are out of school—the second-highest number in the world—and two-thirds of them are female” (2).  The first step in creating change is through awareness, awareness is created through education. What better way to change the world then by providing education. Children and women need the tools to succeed, and according to Malala, education does just this. Malala is the change we need more of in this world.

 

For more on Malala, check out the documentary, He Named Me Malala.

1.) https://www.malala.org/

2.)  http://www.vanityfair.com/news/politics/2013/04/malala-yousafzai-pakistan-profile

Yes Please.

 

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Yes Please is a place for Amy Poehler to reminisce, offer advice, life lessons, and be hilarious all under one cover. She explains her life in a series of stories and lessons, and at one point she hands over the reins to Seth Meyers, (a friend whom she met on Saturday Night Live). He wrote a chapter about Amy, in his own words, all because, she was too tired to write. Seriously, who does that?? Amy Poehler. The book is broken down in sections and  titled according, such as: Say Whatever You Want, Do Whatever You Like, and my favorite Be Whoever You Are.

The photo below is a great example of her humor. She makes her own Photoshop suggestions, with the goal of being supermodel Giselle.

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What I liked most about the book was that it was raw and honest, and there are no other books out there like it. I think one of the biggest problems in todays society is that celebrities are idolized, and the world sets their own ideals based on celebrities. This has created multiple problems with body image for example. Reading Yes please was the breath of fresh air that this world needs. Celebrities are moms, they go through divorce, they say mean things, they make mistakes, all just like us. There was a story Amy wrote about where she did a skit and made a joke about someone with a disability. This offended someone personally because they had lost a child with a disability. Instead of apologizing to the family she let it go on for years without ever talking to them. Eventually she decided she needed to apologize, so she did through a series of letters. The letters are copied inside of Yes Please. It takes a lot of courage to admit you made a mistake, but to publish it in a book that is now a #1 New York Times best seller, TAKES GUTS.

Amy Poehler takes part in many charities, but is most interested in empowering women. She feels the best way to change the world is for them to “be themselves.” Amy is also an Ambassador for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation. She founded Amy’s Smart Girls, with Meredith Walker. “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization is dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves. We emphasize intelligence and imagination over “fitting in.” We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves. We are funny first, and informative second, hosting the party you want to attend”.

While I appreciate her humor, my overall feeling of the book was that it never went deep enough into one topic. There would be a story that seemed interesting and funny but then she would bounce to another random thought. That being said, I really appreciated the honesty. The book felt chaotic, but then again, the definition of improv is: composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation.