Do you have any idea how much food is wasted in your household weekly? The answer will probably surprise you. My husband and I moved into a smaller home and I hadn’t considered how downsizing would impact my kitchen, my pantry, my closet space. Darling Daughter suggested I create a menu every Thursday, then make a list of items required on my grocery list. This was something she had wanted me to try for years, but I can be stubborn at times, and on this occasion I was both stubborn and wrong.
I had my reasons for refusal. I like being prepared to cook and bake when the mood hits me so I kept a well stocked pantry. With only my spouse and me at home, this resulted in goods expiring or spoiling before I used them. I bought fruits and vegetables without considering my husband’s work schedule only to have them spoil in the refrigerator because there was no one home. The bottom line was I threw out a lot of food.
Well, I decided creating a menu weekly might help with my space issues so I sat down each Thursday, created a menu, then a grocery list. Each Friday I wrote the menu in grease pencil on my board. It hangs in the kitchen and I enjoy knowing in advance what I’ll prepare each night. I know the ingredients are there, the produce is fresh, and the cupboards remain neat and orderly!
Time passed and I noticed I was saving money at the market. Is that awesome or what? I create less trash, spend less money, have fewer groceries to bring inside and put away after each trip; my fridge stays cleaner, I have practically no spoilage, dinner is rarely late due to my lack of preparation – how’s that for a list of benefits? I was feeling pretty smart, even though I was slightly coerced, when I saw this:
Food planning. It’s a busy world for the average family. There are school events and personal commitments to make. Making a plan in advance to cook everything you’ve bought might seem like an unnecessary restriction, but it can be freeing and often leads to less food usage. (US News and World Report)
Okay, my success in planning, cooking and storage is old news. I’m still excited about the results. In retrospect, it occurs to me that my previous lack of planning and preparation, this willingness to treat food with a complete lack of respect, as an item we can afford to toss away is completely the opposite of God’s plan. Stewardship. Responsibility for the planet and its care, its inhabitants. We are the human family.
Each year billions of pounds of surplus food from farmers, manufacturers and retailers is lost to landfills while 49 million Americans, including nearly 16 million children, lack reliable access to food – http://www.feedingamerica.org
Okay, just a few facts, then I’ll get off my soapbox. In the 1960s hunger was equated with physical starvation. Then the term ‘food insecure’ was coined when researchers discovered a great number of people had begun skipping meals to save money.
- Federal funding is spent on commodity* crops over fruit and vegetables at a rate of 7:1
- The price of fruits and vegetables has increased by 24% since the 80s.
- Hunger is the biggest killer in the world, causing the deaths of over 5 million children each year.
- Worldwide, 925 million people don’t have enough to eat.
- According to the World Food Programme, the number of hungry in the world would be reduced by up to 150 million if women had access to the same resources as men. **
- *Commodity crops are typically corn, cotton, soybeans, rice…they can be easily traded,grown in large quantities, and are relatively nonperishable.
- **I have no ides what that says about gender, I’m just the messenger.
. Cooperation, care for our neighbors, these are important things, my friend. You never know when you’ll be the one needing help. It’s a dangerous world.
Here’s the Allegory of the Long Spoons –