New Year and Christmas led me to think about “how much food is thrown unnecessarily?”. Usually we prepare food in large quantities, because the human eye is greedy and the table should be full (overfull) no matter that only half of what is served will be eaten, and the rest will end up in garbage bins. Let’s not forget that while we behave irresponsibly with food many people barely manage to get one meal per day.
Have you ever wondered how much food is throw it in the world daily? This is what data says – in America just in 2010 are throw away 34 million tonnes food and only 3% from that are recycled or reuse, remaining 33 million tons ended up in landfills or in ovens for destruction. In addition the above figures, the average American family unnecessarily throws usually 600$ from its budget by unused food that ends up as waste. This is something which forces me to think about … what about you?
The situation in the EU is worrying, too. Figures show that in EU 89 million tons of foods, which is 179 kg per capita, are thrown away annually. The EU institutions aware of the magnitude of the problem has already taken steps to overcome it. The European Parliament called in a resolution adopted on 01/19/2012 for urgent measures to halve food waste by 2025 and to improve access to food for needy EU citizens.
Today, food represents the largest percentage of solid waste, which is normal because there is no life without food. If we approach to this problem with bigger awareness and change our habits we will have both environmental and economic benefit. Food waste will be significantly reduced if we do our buying with plan for necessary stuff for next few days not by grabbing everything we see on the markets. At the same time, more money will remain in our wallets that could be spent for other purpose or need.
But let me going back to the thought and the problem. Food should not necessarily end up in trash bins along with the overall waste. For example:
– food can be given to those who need it, certainly if still usable. In our country there are many poor families and public kitchens where such food may well be used.
– food could be used for production of quality compost without pesticides and other chemical. With proper treatment can prepare high quality food without additives for domestic animals. Previously we have written post how to prepare compost.
– you could extend foods shelf life through processing. For example:
1. if the tomatoes have started to soften in refrigerator, don’t wait to rotten but crumble them in minor pieces and cook them. That is how you will prepare tomato sauce which can be used in preparation or as a dressing for other meals.
2. by the rice that you have prepared as a side order for lunch could be prepared delicious and nutritious meal with simple adding of vegetables and some spices.
Such examples are so many, our grandmothers and mothers used them quite often in the past, but unfortunately we are forgetting this. It is easier for us to get rid of food by throwing it in the trash.
It would be nice if examples what I mention could reach people from commercial facilities, too, and food what is prepared in restaurants daily or food with close deadlines – from the shelves of supermarkets and retail markets, will not became a part of the municipal waste.
Therefore, in future, when you will go to purchase some food think if it is really necessary to buy that food that or you could go home without it, or if you have some food leftovers how would you treat it and where it will end.
In conditions when we are always busy and even many worries pressure us everyday, we are forgetting healthy eating habits. Well, it is clear that the development of technology has brought changes in the way and speed of life, but try to remember, when was the last time your family gathered on a warm, home-prepared, lunch?
On the one hand, the facts show that fresh food is used and prepared less than extremely attractive fast food (food industry received) which is easy to reach. Various types of baked goods, snacks, cookies, sauces, dairy products and meat industry products are found in abundance on shelves in supermarkets and in a shortly time they can satisfy our hunger. But be aware that through their consuming in our body are simultaneously introduced over 300 kinds of chemical additives and obtained about 50 types of natural additives added during production, preparation, processing and packaging. Let me mention some of the additives have a harmful impact on your health. Additives are actually those substances that make the products stay fresh longer (not to spoil – to change the taste, color, form) and must be noted on the packaging of the product with the label “E”. It is the mark according to European standards, but accepted almost worldwide. If you are concerned about additives, more information can be found at the following link.
On the other hand, you have a CHOICE what food you will consume. You may not allow to enter chemistry at your body. Recall that on the list of food there are categories which instead additives are packed with vitamins and nutrients that meet the needs for your body healthy functioning. Our recommendations are:
– Organic food – grown on areas clean and free of pesticides and other chemicals
– Meat and meat products of animals and poultry that are raised without artificial food during their growth and development and without given hormones and antibiotics
– Traditional food – cooked from the fruit that grows in our climate, prepared on the way our ancestors did.
One proverb says “health comes from the mouth.” The food is not only necessarity, it is cure and pleasure. Be careful when choosing what to eat. Think about things you eat and make an important step toward your better health. Take the fruits of nature, replace the industrial food with nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables from the area where they originated, replace soft artificial drinks with freshly pressed juices or simply pure water … and be healthy and happy.
After returning from the European Forum for Food Nyeleni held in Krems, Austria, the most asked question that I refer when talking about the experience of the forum and there was:
What exactly The Sovereignty of Food means?
Food Sovereignty (FS) represents the right of people for healthy, quality and environmentally safe food that is not genetically modified and it is produced through environmentally sustainable methods, or more specifically, methods which do not destroy nature, its resources and biodiversity. It focuses on sustainable and honest relation to nature.
FS puts interests and needs of smaller manufacturers, distributors of food, as well as those who consume it on the highest level. Sovereignty creates a strategy to counter the current corporate trade and creates an opportunity for local consumers and producers in agriculture, livestock and fisheries to make decisions. Priorities of FS are put on local and national economies and markets, strengthening of family agricultural production, improving the working conditions of producers and distributors. At the same time care and protection of consumer rights, the right to control their food and the right of healthy food.
FS has a wider dimension – it is based on and respects basic human rights. Its purpose is to provide the right to use and manage land, water, seeds, livestock and biodiversity. It implies new social relations without oppression and inequality between genders, generations, nations, racial groups, social and economic classes. Through it people get the right to democratically define their own food and agricultural systems without causing harm to other people or the environment.
Have you thought about food in this direction and whether you would like to be engaged in activities related to food sovereignty?
Representative of Greener was part of a nine-member delegation representing Macedonia at Nyeleni Europe 2011: European Forum for Food Sovereignty, held in Krems, Austria, from 16th to 21st August.
We present you the official press release after the Forum.
„After 5 days of intense, inspired and constructive exchange, the Nyeleni Europe 2011, European Forum for Food Sovereignty closed yesterday.
The Forum adopted the first European Declaration on Food Sovereignty.
Over 400 delegates from European countries committed to strengthening their collective capacity to reclaiming community control over food system, to resisting the agro-industrial system and to expanding and consolidating a strong European movement for Food Sovereignty.
Over 120 organisations and individuals, representing civil society and social movements discussed the impact of current European and global policies.
Together they developed a comprehensive platform and a set of principles to achieve food sovereignty in Europe. The Forum emphasized the contribution of voices of young people, woman and food producers, whose concerns are often overlooked. This diversity and richness of experience enabled the Nyeleni Europe 2011 Forum to identify a common framework, and to define a joint action plan based on a democratic and participatory process.
The Declaration proclaims, “we are convinced that a change to our food system is a first step towards a broader change in our societies”. The Forum delegates strongly committed to taking the food system into their own hands by:
– Working towards an ecologically sustainable and socially just model of food production and consumption based on non-industrial smallholder farming, processing and alternative distribution
– Decentralizing the food distribution system and shortening the chain between producers and consumers
– Improving working and social conditions, particularly in field of food and agriculture
– Democratizing decision-making on the use of the Commons and heritage (land, water, air, traditional knowledge, seeds and livestock)
– Ensuring that public policies at all levels guarantee the vitality of rural areas, fair prices for food producers and safe, GMO-free food for all.
At this time of political volatility, social and economic crisis, the delegates of the NYELENI Forum for Food Sovereignty reaffirmed their vision of unity that emphasized the right of all peoples to define their own food and agriculture policies and systems, without harming either people or precious natural resources, as Food Sovereignty implies.
That’s why we demand food sovereignty in Europe now.“
The full text of the declaration is available on the Nyeleni Forum 2011 website: www.nyelenieurope.net