I made a resolution this Lent not to waste food – not that I waste a lot but I felt I could be more careful. I’m keeping to it fairly well although a few bits of stale bread have gone in the bin and I failed to make stock from the chicken carcass after our jerk chicken the other day.
It’s a big issue. I’m increasingly appalled at the amount of waste for which supermarkets are responsible by:
- rejecting perfectly edible fruit and vegetables for purely cosmetic reasons;
- failing to promote local and seasonal produce and buying stuff which can be grown here from overseas;
- switching suppliers at short notice, leaving farmers with vast amounts of unsold (and quickly becoming unsalable) crops,
- encouraging customers to buy more than they will use with BOGOF and multi-buy offers on perishable goods.
No doubt they would argue that they are only responding to demand, but they created the demand in the first place. Before we had supermarkets, people knew when things were in season and were quite happy to eat misshapen vegetables; farmers knew where they stood because they supplied their local community.
Having a bit more time on my hands these days, I’ve just signed up to a gleaning programme. When a farm has a glut of surplus fruit or veg which would otherwise go to waste, volunteers are mobilised to pick the stuff and deliver it to charities who will ensure that it is used to feed people in need. It’s a worthy enterprise which I commend to my readers. It’s time we took our stewardship of this planet more seriously.