The results were alarming. When I visited the website with the graphs and charts, based on research from the USDA, I found alarming graph that indicated that 61.2 % of all harvested fruit is wasted, and 56% of all harvested vegetables are wasted.
The abstract goes on: …this accounts for 30% of daily calories available for consumption, one-quarter of daily food (by weight) available for consumption, and 7% of annual cropland acreage.
More astonishingly, the volume of discarded food results in a disastrous environmental impact: “the volume of discarded food equivalent to the yearly use of 30m acres of land, 780m pounds of pesticide and 4.2tn gallons of irrigated water. Rotting food also clogs up landfills and releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.”
Consider how much water that is. What a travesty. To think that there are people that are currently thirsty, and we are wasting precious water because we can’t eat what we buy.
This makes me think back to all of the arguments that I have with GMO and factory-farm proponents. They always claim: How else are we going to produce food for the whole world? How else are we going to feed everyone? Not everyone can have a garden or knows how to grow on. Not everyone can afford good food. [Insert another stereotypical argument about mass food production here].
Next time someone tries to feed you their bullcrap, throw this article in their face. Remind them that we have plenty of resources and abilities to feed the public. In fact, given this recent information, is it possible that we are engaged in food overproduction? Clearly, we don’t need more than half of the fruits and vegetables that we are producing or importing. Which presents a different issue: do we really need to import all of this food (although California is responsible for a large portion of our food production)?
It is simply a matter of allocation of resources. We have oodles of money at our disposal. It is simply a sociopolitical oversight, or dare I say, overlooking, that explains why there are still starving individuals in our world. There’s no money in solving a hunger problem. This revelation adds important fuel to this rebuttal: Americans are notorious for wasting food.