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My Big Idea: Eliminating Food Waste and Hunger in America

Presentation of my "Big Idea" for CM 220: College Composition II.
by

Hilary Reed

on 21 May 2011

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Transcript of My Big Idea: Eliminating Food Waste and Hunger in America

Connecting restaurants, retail stores and cafeterias with local food pantries and shelters could greatly reduce, if not completely eliminate the amount of food waste as well as the number of people facing hunger in America. Sources of Food Waste Farmers leave excess crops unharvested to rot in their fields Retail stores throw away food with cosmetic flaws. Restaurants prepare too much food and discard the uneaten portions. Consumers throw away forgotten food and leftovers. Reduce Food Waste Eliminate Hunger How Much Food Are We Wasting? By the time the food has traveled from the farm to the store or restaurant to the consumer, 27 percent of the 356 billion pounds of food available for human consumption is wasted (Kantor, Lipton., Manchester & Oliveira, 1997). That 27% of wasted food could provide every American with 1400 calories of nourishment each and every day (Palmer, 2010). Environmental Inpact Up to 20% of the waste that is sent to American landfills is food waste. This food waste decomposes in landfills, creating methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas with “23 times the heat-trapping capacity of CO2.” (Food Scraps, n.d.). food waste accounts for over 25% of the freshwater consumption, as well as 4% of the total oil consumption in the United States (Public Library of Science, 2009). Economic Impact 150 billion dollars is wasted on food that is thrown away every single year (Palmer, 2010). Just How Big Is the Hunger Problem In America? Food insecurity levels in 2008 and 2009 were 14.7%- the highest levels ever recorded by The United States Department of Agriculture. (USDA, 2009). Over 45 million Americans didn’t have access to sufficient nutritious food at some point in 2008 and 2009. Food Pantry Crisis There has been a 40% increase in demand at food banks, with only an 18% increase in donations (Keen, 2008). People are being turned away and food pantries all over the country are closing their doors. An organization that connects restaurants and retail stores with local food pantries and soup kitchens could very possibly solve both of these problems. Solution Corporations could save money by donating food instead of having to pay to dispose of it
Their public image would be greatly improved. There is an immense interest in “going green” and helping the community right now. Businesses could market the fact that they are reducing food waste and hunger in America and gain a whole new group of consumers. How Would This Benefit Businesses? Who Would Transport the Donations? Once the donations are made, volunteers would transport the food from the restaurant or retail store to food pantries and shelters in the community. This plan is barely asking anything extra of anyone. No one would have to actually produce or buy extra food to donate. All of the donations would consist of food that would have been produced either way, and would otherwise be thrown in a landfill. We're Not Asking For Too Much! There is a solution to the hunger problem and food waste problem in America, and this is it. We must fight one problem with the other in order to eliminate both. It can be done simply and inexpensively if Americans can work together. Without relying on donations from struggling consumers, we could supply millions of hungry Americans with the wholesome sustenance they so desperately need and stop contributing to the climate crisis. References:

Food scraps and greenhouse gas. (n.d.). Zero Waste, Inc.. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from
http://www.zwinc.org/scraps_gas.html

Keen, J. (November 26, 2008). Food banks can't meet growing demand. USA Today.
Retrieved May 2, 2011, from http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-11-25-
foodbanks_N.htm

Palmer, S. (2010). Paying the high price of food waste. Environmental Nutrition,
Retrieved May 2, 2011, from EBSCOhost.

Public Library of Science (November 25, 2009). America's increasing food waste is
laying waste to the environment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from
http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/11/091124204314.htm

Scott-Kantor, L., Lipton, K., Manchester, A., & Oliveira, V. (1997). Estimating and
addressing America’s food losses. Economic Research Service. Retrieved May 2,
2011, from www.ers.usda.gov/publications/foodreview/jan1997/jan97a.pdf

USDA (November 25, 2009). Household food security in the United States 2009. USDA
Economic Research Service. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from
http://ers.usda.gov/features/householdfoodsecurity/ Additional Information
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