#1 way to Decrease Food Waste…

Posted by Alayne Gardner-Carimi on

What One Person Can Do
While Earth Day 2023 slides into our rearview mirror, and Mother’s Day glimmers on the horizon (May 14th), Mother Earth continues to unfurl the miracles of her spring finery (albeit a bit slowly) despite contemporary ecologic obstacles.
We want to thank all our customers who came in to refill their oil and vinegar bottles on Earth Day. It was great to see you! And we look forward to seeing you again as you continue to refill your beautiful (and sustainable) vomFASS bottles with delicious vomFASS vinegars and oils with each visit.
Chatting while we filled bottles, some customers wondered…what else can I do? After all, I’m just one person. When we each do a little more as individuals to decrease our environmental impact, the collective effort can add up to a lot. Especially when it relates to something we do almost every day, like…eating. 
Food Waste Impact
Unfortunately, modern-day food consumption leads to a lot of waste. Food waste has a significant impact on the environment. Producing food requires resources like water, energy, and land. When food is wasted, those resources are also wasted.
When food is thrown away, it ends up in landfills. There it decomposes and releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of its impact on global warming. It is estimated 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions each year are due to food loss and waste
On average, each American wastes 219 pounds of food a year, which has an economic loss of about $1866 per family. And that’s just the food aspect! We haven’t even started discussing the packaging surrounding most commercially available food products.
#1 way to Decrease Food Waste…
No, it’s not composting…
While composting is better than throwing food into a landfill, edible food that is composted is still wasting the water, gas, labor, growing space, and time that was spent growing that food. There’s another step that can be taken before composting to maximize nutrition and minimize food waste.
Repurposing Food 
Cook "roots to shoots" by using every part of your produce or food item. Vegetable scraps can be used to make new plants (photo above) and homemade broths. Homemade vegetable broth allows you to extract all the nutrients you can from the produce you buy while infusing that nutrition and flavor into other dishes. Unlike bouillon or concentrates, homemade broth has the added benefit of giving you control of the amount of salt and kinds of seasonings.
Homemade broths and stocks can be made with most vegetable peels, tops, ends and stems. As you prep your meals throughout the week, save these conveniently in a container in the freezer. You can use trimmings and skins from onions, garlic and potatoes, the stems of parsley or other soft herbs, asparagus ends, mushroom stems, the tops or peels of carrots or turnips, the ends from zucchinis. When the container is full, it’s time to make some broth. (To not discolor or overpower the flavor of other foods, it’s recommended to separate and add boldly flavored and colored veggies such as peppery greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and cabbage into dishes and soups later rather than infusing them into broth.) 
Making broth is simple. Most of the time invested is hands-off so you can be tackling other important things in life while it is simmering. In addition to soup, the broth can be used as you cook rice, grains, or dried beans, or even deglaze a pan. See Mother's Broth and Coconut Parsnip Bisque recipes below.
Also, the cooked vegetable scraps are now ready for microbial digestion in your composter.
Taking Stock 
Another way to decrease food wastes is to plan your meals  calculate how much food you'll need and avoid over-purchasing. Make a shopping list, but check your refrigerator and pantry first before going to the store. Simple recipes at the beginning of the week can be combined as more complex meals or soups later in the week.
Getting Creative
Have leftover ingredients from a recipe but not enough to recreate it? Repurpose ingredients with some pantry staples to create a quick, easy, completely new meal, like the Quick Greens Gratin recipe below. Change up your vomFASS oils, spices or cheeses and this little veggie dish will never be boring. This super simple recipe uses everyday items, can be substituted with most vegetables, and works great for a quick  lunch or dinner.
Through sustainable practices and responsible stewardship, we can work together to create a brighter, healthier, and more sustainable future for ourselves and for our planet.

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  • Ken,
    Yes! If only more municipalities allowed chickens—We might not have any egg shortages either!

    Alayne on
  • and then there are chickens….

    Kenneth Felz on

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