“Feel what it’s like to truly starve and I guarantee that you’ll forever think twice before wasting food” – Criss Jami
Throughout the last year I have been so privileged to work with Oxfam at Queen’s as their project director for the food security campaign. Before this year, I didn’t really think much about where my food came from, how it is produced or how privileged I am to have food on my plate every night. I used to hear the statistics and not really absorb what they meant. I never went into depth to understand our global food system or the inequalities that so obviously arise from it. I thought I could never change it because what I did couldn’t matter or couldn’t ever be big enough to truly create a change. I have never been so wrong.
While working with the GROW campaign I have discovered that there are better ways to grow, share and live together so that every person has enough. Our planet produces more than enough food for everyone, however 900 million people go to be hungry every night. I can list several shocking and terrible statistics like this to demonstrate all the inequalities deeply rooted in our food system, however I would like to focus today on one in specific:
Around 1/3 of all food produced is wasted. This amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes of all food wasted.
Throughout the last few years, the Queen’s food security team has tried to emphasize various issues within the global food system, we have tried to encourage all to get involved and create a global change. We have learned through the GROW campaign that we can join together and create a change in the way land deals are made, we have learned the story behind our favourite brands such as coca cola and we have learned how important it is to buy locally, buy organic and buy fair trade. As the year comes to an end, we are all going to deeply miss working with the food security campaign. We do however have one last challenge for all of you before we say goodbye for the year.
As a university student I can safely say that living in a house alone for the first time has tested me in the way I buy my food but also in the way I waste it. The walk to the grocery store can definitely be a challenge and if you are all like me, we stock up when mom and dad drop us off with the car. As we approach the end of the year however, keep in mind that most of us will be leaving for the summer and all that food will go to waste if we don’t plan ahead. Over the next few weeks while buying and preparing your food please take these 3 steps!
- Buy your food with thought (don’t buy more than you’ll be able to use)
- Cook it with care (Cook enough so that you can eat it without wasting any)
- Eat what will spoil (Is something going to expire soon? Eat that first!)
Thinking about these steps will help reduce the amount of food you will waste in the next few weeks, however some of us may have too much food stored in the house already, so what should we do about that? The first thing you can do is be informed about what is currently in your fridge, freezer and cupboards. This will help you to stop buying more food or help you to stop eating out. We all gets cravings for pizza some nights but try to think about all the food that you could be preparing so that none of it goes to waste. Try gathering your housemates to see how much food is in your house currently, offer to share that huge carton of milk in your fridge or those ten frozen meals that you can’t possibly finish.
If you find yourself on that last day of exams realizing that you have far too much food that may go to waste while you’re home for the summer, please think about alternative ways to ensure all that food doesn’t go to waste. Donate it to a local food bank! There are so many people in need right here in Kingston and so many options to donate! Get in contact with a local food bank and see what you can donate! Here are some local places and contact information for you to plan ahead:
|Partners in Mission Food Bank||140 Hickson Ave||613-544-4534|
|Salvation Army||342 Patrick St||613-548-4411 Ext 21|
|St. Vincent de Paul||1200 Princess St||46-3333|
|Rideau Heights Community Church||183 Weller Ave||613-541-3947|
The global food system is full of inequalities, but what I have learned is there is always hope for change and that hope starts with each person individually. What we do in our everyday life matters. We need to realize the effect we all have as consumers. It is so easy to waste, and to block out the big issues in the world by thinking they have nothing to do with you. In reality these issues have everything to do with all of us. Together we can contribute to changing the inequalities that persist in our global food system by changing small things in our everyday life to create a ripple of change. Join me and the rest of the food security team in continuing the journey to create a better food system so that no one has to go to bed hungry. Continue to listen to the issues, be informed about where and how your food is being produced and most of all think consciously about buying and wasting your food.
Please remember, the food that you waste today alone could be a meal for those who will be going to bed hungry tonight.