When I go grocery shopping, I feel guilty, especially in the produce section. When I see a bruised apple, I know it’s likely to be thrown away. Those ripe bananas, riper than all of the others, won’t find a home outside a landfill if I don’t adopt them.
Fresh foods are very important to my diet but I, like most of you, want a selection. We want to see a pile of apples, lettuce, grapefruit, and potatoes, and we want to select the best looking ones of the bunch, even though the slightly bruised, more ripened, or discolored could nourish us significantly, not to mention the starving people in Africa. I swear, if I could just figure out a way to do it, I would purchase all the rejected but perfectly good fruit and vegetables and take them to Africa each week.
Our grocery shopping system gives us tremendous selection within a select few varieties, but the system is incredibly inefficient. We waste so much food in this nation. And the produce we throw away, often the perfectly good or slightly imperfect, gets put into a locked-up container awaiting transport to the dump while the homeless get our stale donuts and day old white bread that shouldn’t be called food. It’s the nourishing food that really could feed the hungry that is tossed aside and deemed worthless.
How do we fix this problem? How do we quit wasting food? Or if we are to be realistic and consider American desires, how do we throw away less food and not have to sacrifice our individual convenience or choice?
I do not know the answer. I tell myself I do my small part when I buy the most ripened bunch of bananas on the shelf and eat them all in one day so they won’t spoil.