While we currently produce enough food to feed the world’s 7.3 billion people, 795 million go hungry. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated a third of the world’s food fit for human consumption does not reach consumers.
Transportation, refrigeration, and preservation have always been major obstacles to be overcome in the distribution of food resources. Modern production lines have improved and these bumps in the road have become navigable. A large part of the discrepancy, at least in the United States, remains due to waste by distributors, retailers, and consumers every year. A 2013 UN report estimated that 550 million tons of food are discarded every year – in the United States alone, 30% of all food is thrown away annually. Interestingly, food waste in developing countries occurs early in the production chain due greatly to managerial and technical constraints, while food waste takes place later in the process in industrialized countries. The United Nations and the United States have agreed to work toward a reduction of food waste over the next 10-15 years.
Promising solutions to the problem of food waste have already been presented and are being implemented in Europe and here at home. The sale and use of visually unappealing foodstuffs have been the focus of many of these programs. Nicolas Chabanne, a French entrepreneur with connections to fruit and vegetable farmers, has established a creative campaign he calls, ‘Gueules Cassees’ or in English, ‘Ugly Mugs.’ He has designed and sells a sticker-logo (a smiling apple with a black eye and single tooth) that is affixed to blemished produce and is sold at a reduced rate (at least a 30% discount). Mr. Chabanne, donates the majority of the proceeds from the sale of the stickers to other organizations that fight food waste. The Ugly Mugs concept has spread to other countries in Europe and America. similarly, in San Francisco, Imperfect Produce is a home-delivery service that sells damaged fruits and vegetables.
Chefs and food celebrities are also rallying against food waste with solutions of their own – creative cooking. In Milan, restaurant owner Massimo Bottura, in conjunction with Caritas Ambrosiana and Davide Rampello, opened an experimental soup kitchen which serves delicious meals from salvaged food waste. The best chefs in the world, along with local volunteers, serve meals to a selection of Milan’s homeless population. They’ve turned day old bread into sweet puddings, black bananas into fabulous banana breads, and weekly broths and minestrone from bruised vegetables, scraps, and peelings. These recipes can be reproduced at home inexpensively by those on even the tightest budget. “These dishes change the way we feed the world, because they can be cooked by anyone, anywhere, on any budget,” said Mr. Bottura about the dishes served in Refettorio Ambrosiano. “For families in need, it’s a way to bring dignity back to the table – dignity based not on the quality of the ingredients, but on the quality of the ideas.”
Reducing food waste with programs like the ones I’ve mentioned, can not only provide food for those who might otherwise go hungry, but it also has an impact on our environment and natural resources. The squandering of food is also a squandering of water, land, energy and labor. Reducing food waste can only be accomplished if each of us considers ways in which we may better steward our own resources. We may not be able to feed the hungry in far away lands, but we do have opportunities to make a difference in our own community. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the One who fed 5000 with two fish and five loaves, it is my hope that we would look for ways in which to meet the needs of our fellow-man and woman.
“Food Waste Facts.” World Environment Day –. United Nations environment Programme, 2009. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.unep.org/wed/2013/quickfacts/>.
Chauvet, Caroline. “Save the Planet. Eat Ugly.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/business/energy-environment/save-the-planet-eat-ugly.html?_r=0>.
Bottura, Massimo. “Chef Massimo Bottura on Why the Future of Food Is in Our Trash.” WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/chef-massimo-bottura-on-why-the-future-of-food-is-in-our-trash-1449506020>.
Johnny operated JD Lowe Jr Co, Inc. and established the
Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving, but it seems that Christmas is already upon us. Our little town of Lakeland held it’s annual Christmas parade last night and Santa’s entrance reminded me that Christmas is just around the corner. Although the season brings with it a multitude of things to do, it also ushers in an atmosphere of excitement, joy, gratitude, and generosity, like no other time of the year. On Fridays, I usually focus on issues related to the future. Today I considered writing about the response of the greeting card industry to the downward slope of sales due to the lack of appeal to Millennials. But instead, in response to the sights and sounds of Christmas pressing in around me, I’m going to join Scrooge and consider Christmas Present.
In the classic tale, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Scrooge is taken by three ghosts on a journey of his past, present and tentative future Christmases in a successful effort to bring about a transformation in his character. During his time with the ghost of Christmas Present, his perspective is broadened as he witnesses the Christmas celebrations of his employee and his nephew. I do not intend to take you on that kind of journey, but I do believe it would benefit us all to take time to consider the value of those with whom we most closely associate.
In reference to the use of new technology and ‘the cloud’, unorthodox methods of communication or procedure, and requests for unprecedented venues or work hours, any executive may respond in a more ‘Scrooge-like’ manner. Nevertheless, the workplace is changing rapidly as are the methods of doing business – and at the forefront of the change are the Millennials.
In a recent article, ‘Millennials are not Fruitcake,’ the XYZ University staff writer tells us that, although Millennials are not like the traditional and somewhat inedible Christmas confection, they do bring ‘gifts’ to the workforce and workplace. Phil Dell points out that because Millennials have grown up with technology, they instinctively use it to get things done. What might have been deemed untraditional or unprofessional in regard to processes and methodology, is becoming commonplace. Embracing the innovative and enthusiastic nature of these young professionals and appreciating their skills will truly result in many happy returns.
Relationships and a natural integration of work and personal life have always been a challenge for full-time employees, and often sacrifices were required and expected. These values are meaningful to Millennials and respecting them will bring about the best possible outcome in your workplace as well as on your bottom line.
To truly celebrate the holiday season well, we ought to take the lessons learned by Ebenezer Scrooge to heart and recognize the worth of those around us. Merry Christmas!
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!
“DREAMS ARE WHAT LE CINEMA IS FOR…” : SCROOGE 1970. N.p., 27 July 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <http://lecinemadreams.blogspot.com/2013/07/scrooge-1970.html>.
Dell, Phil. “Part One Millennials Arent Fruitcake.docx.” Google Docs. XYZ University, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B65KhrCPEpdiVHhpcGpielFhVWc/view>.
190 Fitzgerald Road, Suite 3, Lakeland, Florida 33813