Between visits he folds himself like a fruit bat into the backseat of a crowded car and types. Tap, tap. An appointment with a food rescuer who just flew up from Santiago, Chile. Everywhere he goes, it seems, people want to tell Stuart an egregious story about food waste. In fume-choked traffic he arranges to meet with a Peruvian congressman trying to overturn tax laws that incentivize dumping excess food over donating it. As we careen down a serpentine road, he taps out revisions to a proposed food-waste-reduction bill in the U.
Parliament and a letter in support of expanding the authority of the U. Developed countries are responsible for most of the food left uneaten on grocery-store shelves, on restaurant plates, and in home refrigerators.
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Here are some tips to reduce your waste footprint. Diners who use trays waste 32 percent more than those who carry their plates in their hands. Small changes in the kitchen can reduce the amount of food your household throws out. The standard plate is 36 percent larger than it was 50 years ago. Freeze or can extras. Blend bruised fruit into smoothies. Businesses, schools, nonprofits, and governments can all find ways to dump less food. The possibility spurs a series of calls to his newest friends. Raising awareness and building community. This squishy stuff works. While gleaning, dicing, and dining, chefs from Lima to London have connected with charities hungry for their excess; California entrepreneurs have hatched schemes to rescue wonky-looking fruit from burial; civil society groups have fomented plans for a Kenyan food-rescue network; a Belgian brewer has been emboldened to convert stale bread into salable beer.
A disco soup in Lima seems harebrained, given that Stuart is five hours from the city, has a looming appointment at a Colombian banana plantation, controls neither a dining room nor a kitchen, and has no budget and no food. But history suggests he will probably succeed. Stuart, now 38, was born in London, the last of three boys. Simon Stuart was a talented teacher of English and an outstanding naturalist. One did birds, another did dragonflies, and I did mushrooms. I know what wild mushrooms look like, and these are from a shop. Portions in U. His father tended a large vegetable garden, and Stuart added pigs and chickens to the mix.
In exchange for manure, Simon gave Tristram his vegetable trimmings. The larder was almost complete. Stuart had begun selling pork and eggs to the parents of his schoolmates, but he quickly realized that buying animal feed would bankrupt him. He started a swill route: collecting misfit potatoes and stale cakes from local shops and his school kitchen.
He bred his sow, Gudrun, and he learned how much edible food the community daily discarded. After spending part of a year on a French cattle farm, he entered the University of Cambridge, where he studied English literature and experienced a cruel uprooting from his agro-ecological heaven. At that time, he says, neither supermarkets nor government agencies had any overt policies on food waste.
That was about to change. Feeding the scraps to nonruminant animals, such as pigs, recycles their nutrients and eliminates some of the methane that food would generate in a landfill. He was living then in London. With enough data on where and precisely why food was lost throughout the food chain, he realized, he might actually be able to do something about it.
Thus were sown the seeds of his book Waste, in which he investigated the causes and environmental toll of food waste around the globe.
Let nothing be wasted. These gatherings have now been replicated in more than 30 cities. Thousands partake of the meals, reams of ink and pixels follow, and public outcry is amplified. One hardly knows where to begin. Stuart is ambitious, aggressive, and narcissistic. At RC Farms, just ten or so miles from the Las Vegas Strip, hogs convert surplus potatoes from a local food processor into protein that may eventually find its way onto our plates.
On his first morning in Peru he breakfasts on congealed chicken blood. At lunch he exults in guinea pig. On day two he orders beef tripe; on day three, tongue and a great deal of pisco.
- Our Place in the Universe (Everyones Guide Series Book 1);
- Thirsty Planet: Strategies for Sustainable Water Management.
- Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction from Jamaicas Calabash Writers Workshop;
- You are here.
- Texas Farmers’ Market’s Women in Agriculture;
- I’m a Farmer.
- Astro Lox and the Three Beavers.
They turn out to be relatives of the potato knish. The protein seems to fortify Stuart for farm and packhouse conversations that quickly grow weedy with numbers. Kilos, tons, containers, pallets, percentages rejected, recovered, left for dead. His stomach for such minutiae is large. Indeed they do. With governments fretting over how to feed more than nine billion people by , a dominant narrative calls for increasing global food production by 70 to percent.
But agriculture already represents one of the greatest threats to planetary health. As the population grows and emerging economies develop a taste for meat and dairy products, which require huge inputs of grain and other resources for relatively little caloric gain, this toll will worsen. But converting more wildlands to farm fields may not be necessary, some experts say. If we slash waste, change our diet to eat less meat and dairy, divert fewer food crops to biofuels, and boost yields on underperforming acres, we may be able to feed more than nine billion people a healthy diet without trashing more rain forests, plowing up more prairies, or wiping out more wetlands.
Staggered to learn that the U. Stuart never loses sight of this big picture, but he knows that paradigm changes are incremental. And so he stands in the desert behind an Ica packinghouse, hammering away at Luis Torres, general manager of Shuman Produce Peru.
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Lacking a local market for what he cannot export, Torres annually dumps 3. I can do nothing to change the rules. Three years ago Stuart spent a week running around the Kenyan countryside, hunting down ingredients for a formal dinner in Nairobi where the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP would highlight the problem of food waste. A hundred miles from the capital, he met a farmer forced by European cosmetic standards to reject 40 tons a week of green beans, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and runner beans—enough food to serve , people.
Within a year Stuart and a camera crew returned to Kenya and discovered that farmers were grading out nearly half of their harvest in fields and packhouses, with green bean farmers losing even more product by trimming both the tips and the tails of each surviving bean. Supermarkets also routinely canceled orders at the last minute without compensating the farmers. After Feedback publicized images of the rejected beans and accused major supermarket chains of transferring their costs to relatively powerless growers, U. They eventually agreed to bear the cost of order cancellations and to expand the length of their packaging, which allowed green beans to be trimmed at only one end.
Not only would less food and fewer resources be wasted, but farmers might also be able to plant fewer acres. By the end of the UN and the U. But already countries and companies are devising and adopting standardized metrics to quantify waste. If the target is met, enough food could be saved to feed at least one billion people.
A Bounty of Pre-Thanksgiving Fun
Most of the produce will be grown at Treat Farm and the menu will include local corn chowder and chive butter, smoked bluefish, all-local ratatouille and make-your-own peach shortcakes. But off-season she drives around the state doing pickups. Roper said of her reason for joining the event.
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