Despite more than 17.5 million households in the United States either going hungry or underfed, our grocery stores throw away 26% of perfectly good produce every year. What’s worse, many people on food stamps or considered ‘food challenged’ don’t have access to healthful, organic produce. So why so much food waste?
If you’ve ever picked up an apple with an odd shape when you were doing your weekly grocery shopping, or an orange that has some green coloring on it, know that these foods may very well end up in the trash bin. This, when they are actually perfectly edible. Store throw out these fruit and veggies because they are ugly or deformed. They deem ‘the uglies’ not fit for sale.
Culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks, author of What the Fork Are You Eating? and co-starter of a petition to prevent all this food waste, confirms that the ‘uglies’ are equally as nutritious as any produce you get in the store. In fact, smaller produce can actually be richer in taste!
Sacks has joined with Jordan Figueiredo, a solid waste specialist, and founder of UglyFruitandVeg.org, to request that Whole Foods and Walmart help stop massive food waste by agreeing to sell cosmetically “less than perfect” produce.
These are two of the largest food chains in the US, and if they aren’t willing to sell the food to paying customers, then at least they could give it to food pantries and homeless shelters in order to cut down on food waste. There are already some organizations out there that go around collecting food waste to give to the homeless, with Natural Society’s Anthony Gucciardi even contributing to the cause. But major food markets as a whole should be making this shift for massive change to take place.
Your signature on the petition really helps, or you can submit a letter, signed, to your local Whole Foods or Walmart in person.
Together we can make big changes in the way America consumes food – even the ‘uglies’ that are still perfectly delicious and nutritious.
Featured image courtesy of: EndFoodWaste.org
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.