Did you know that 40% of food in America is wasted, while nearly 16% of Eagle River Valley residents live in food insecure houses? Household food waste is piling up in our landfills and contributing to climate pollution. Furthermore, food waste is environmentally destructive because when food is wasted, so, too, are all the resources that went into producing, processing, and transporting that food.
Most of the blame for food waste is targeted at grocery stores and restaurants, but consumers are equally responsible. The good news is that we can do something about it. Everyone can help in the fight against food waste in their own homes. Online resources can help you personally learn how to reduce your food waste. The National Resource Defense Council has created an online platform to educate people and share ideas about reducing food waste. The website includes tools such as a calculator that helps you decide how much food to prepare when having a dinner party, meal prep plans, recipes that turn food scraps that would normally be trashed into delicious meals, and great food storing techniques. You can sign up at www.savethefood.com to learn more.
If you are worried about food waste or food insecurity in the Valley, then you should know about The Community Market in Gypsum. They are working to address food waste through recovery, and The Community Market believes in healthy people, strong communities, and environmental sustainability. Strong communities thrive when everyone has access to quality healthy food. Therefore 40 % of what The Community Market distributes is fresh produce, and they serve it to an average of 800 community members per week. They understand that transportation can be an issue, so they have partnered with under-served communities to host markets in locations that are convenient and accessible. The Community Market has partnerships with local farmers and grocery stores to recover food that would be wasted. The partnerships with local farmers also allows them to repurpose any food that cannot be eaten by humans to their animals, and anything leftover from that is then composted and turned into healthy soils for Eagle County. The best way to get involved and help the Community Market is by volunteering time and or making donations. Learn how you can volunteer, make a donation, and access food at www.eaglevalleycf.org/the-foundation.
Here are three tips that can help you reduce food waste.
- Learn how to properly store food. Properly storing food is an important step to making your prepared meals last longer. Online resources such as www.savethefood.com has great techniques for storing all types of foods.
- Practice smarter planning. Make a meal plan for the week or month, only buy what you need, and learn how to use food scraps that would be normally trashed to make tasty meals.
- Get involved in The Community Market’s food rescue work. If you have any unopened, still edible, and good quality food that you won’t use, donate it instead of tossing it! To learn more and get involved visit https://eaglevalleycf.org/the-foundation/