Food Waste – Facts and Solutions

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Each year around the world, an estimated 1.3 trillion pounds of food is wasted.  Catholic Climate Covenant, a non-profit working with the United States Bishops, has a number of great links and ideas that can help reduce waste and benefit both human beings and the planet.

“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry. Are we truly cultivating and caring for creation? Or are we exploiting and neglecting it? Cultivating and caring for creation is God’s indication given to each one of us not only at the beginning of history. It means nurturing the world with responsibility and transforming it into a garden, a habitable place for everyone”.  From Pope Francis’s June 5, 2013 General Audience

Act Together

Ten Minutes

At home with your family, and/or with your Creation Care Team (CCT) answer these questions:
1) Where/how do you see the most food being wasted in your home, school, parish?
2) What are some individual or collective actions that you and others could take to reduce food waste in your home, school, or community?
3) Is this an issue that your CCT/family wishes to pursue? 

Half Day

Take at least a half-day to learn about food wastes and audit how much food waste your family, school or parish is producing.

LEARN:

•    A Beginner’s Guide to Food Waste

•    How the Food You Waste is Linked to Global Warming

•    40 Percent of America’s Food Is Thrown Away. That’s a Stewardship Problem

AUDIT: 

ACT: 

Take EPA’s Food Steward’s Pledge: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Steward’s Pledge engages religious groups of all faiths to help redirect the food that ends up in landfills to hungry mouths. It’s one piece of the agency’s larger plan to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030. Read the background material and see if this effort is something your parish, school or religious community could tackle.  The program guide’s your faith community to reduce wasted food, donate food and compost.

•    Participate in Food Waste Weekend: Plan to participate on September 8-10, 2017 (or another weekend that fits your community) in Food Waste Weekend, a nationwide public engagement event by the US faith community, hosted by ampleharvest.org to introduce the issue of – and some solutions to – the food waste dilemma facing the nation.

 

Ongoing

  • Educate the school, parish, community by hosting a viewing of Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story. Watch trailer here.
  • Start at home with 14 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste.
  • Leftovers: Does your church or school have a café, cafeteria, or soup kitchen? Do they ever throw out food that can still be eaten? Find a local homeless shelter or food bank and organize a team of volunteers to take the extra food to people who need it instead of throwing it away. Does your church partner with youth homes or shelters in town? Tell them when you are having events that tend to have leftover food and invite them to come pick up the leftovers after the events are finished.
  • Compost! Start a compost bin at home and at your church/school property. Read Guide to Composting and start a compost bin on your property to save waste and start making your soil richer. Ascension Catholic Church is a great example of what can be done if a parish and school start living Laudato Si’ and are mindful of the waste they generate.
  • Glean and/or support gleaning organizations (ampleharvest.org or Society of St. Andrews). Gleaning is a wonderful activity for youth groups.
  • Once you have tackled the issue of food waste, go beyond and look at all the ways food could help your school or parish be more sustainable. Repairing Eden and The Good Food Toolkit by Greenfaith is a sustainable food guide for religious institutions.  This guide outlines the food actions that houses of worship and religious schools should consider, and provides a host of success stories, resources, and other helpful tools. The Toolkit provides a hands-on ‘food audit’ that will enable your faith community to pinpoint the best areas for improvement with your food work.
  • What else can you do?

1.  Buy food that is grown close to where you live (local).

2.    Grow some of your own food.

3.    Support Catholic Relief Services and their hunger programs.

Advocate

Ask Your Representative to Join the Bi-partisan Climate Solutions Caucus

Do you agree that there is too much partisanship and a lack of dialogue and action on climate change in the US Congress? You can change that! Now is the time to take action!
 Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) founded the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus to serve “as an organization to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our common home.” The Caucus’ membership is equally balanced between Republicans and Democrats and meets regularly to advance climate solutions.  It is now producing bipartisan pieces of legislation such as the creation of a National Climate Solutions Commission. The Caucus’ efforts are the first step towards politically viable legislation to address climate change. Please write your representative and encourage him/her to join the Climate Solutions Caucus.

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