The weeks leading up to our local food year, we were most focused on checking off all the restaurants where we will not get to eat for the year. In the month of May, I did my best to only buy local food with the exception of a few things we just knew we would miss (such as our fave cheeses!) knowing we would gobble up them up within days. Never the less, when the first day of our big year arrived, we still had a LOT of non-local food leftover.
What to do, what to do!?
In the United States, it is estimated up to 40% of safe, good to eat food is never consumed. 40 million tons of that food goes directly into landfills where instead of decomposing as it would if this food was composted or better yet given to those who could eat it, this tossed food converts into methane and becomes a potent greenhouse gas. Double jeopardy.
Even though all of my family’s food waste goes to our happy hens in our backyard, it still seemed crazy to give them food that was otherwise good enough for my family to eat. The list of random leftovers included:
From the fridge:
a bag of carrots
a half bag of shredded mozzarella
a nub of St. Andre’s brie… (my cheese weakness– oh will I miss you!)
From the pantry:
nice sustainably caught tuna + sardines (we’ll replace with Colorado Trout, hopefully)
onions + a little garlic
some random nuts + dried fruit, these seem worth keeping as fruit season slowly enters and we figure out what our nut + seed situation might be (more on that in another post!)
We discussed tossing all the unwanted food, starting fresh and not looking back. But, since our efforts are to eat food that is produced with less energy it suddenly seemed tricky, even if this food would end up in our chickens’ bellies and subsequently in our eggs. It still seemed worth finishing our own food.
So, here we go. Over a week into our local food year and we are still eating a fair share of non-local items, but this little crutch has helped as I am busy making bread, salads, treats, breakfasts, packing snacks + lunches, dinners and all of it pretty much from scratch. There will continue to be non-local items that I am eager to discuss as we finalize the exceptions (such as olive oil!) but it has been kind of nice to slowly wean ourselves away rather than dumping out perfectly good food.
We do have some opened bottles of ketchup, yellow mustard and a few other condiments that we plan to give to friends. There are also a few items I plan to drop off at a Food Bank. We are pretty comfortable with this decision to eat the ends of our non-local items, but we welcome alternative suggestions!
We also would love to hear how you deal with food waste in your home and how you feel about the vast quantity of food waste in developed countries. For more information on food waste check out this website: End Food Waste Now for some fascinating fun facts. Also, if you don’t already compost food that you can no longer eat, it is one of the easiest things you can do to help reduce methane. If you are hesitant to compost, let’s chat about the possibilities on our newly formed Facebook Group: LocalFood.Love just click to join and we’ll add you in!
Thanks for being a part of our Local Food Year journey… we appreciate your support,