Out of the four grocery bags you left with on your last trip to the grocery store, you only consumed the contents of three of them, at least according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
According to the NRDC, the average American household wastes 15-25% of the food it purchases. Even more shocking, 40% of food produced nationwide is never eaten at all. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this amounts to more than $165 billion worth in wasted food annually or 20 pounds per person per month, enough to fill 730 football stadiums. All of this waste takes place while in 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that 49.1 million people lived in food-insecure households.
Wellesley residents, however, will have the unique opportunity to work towards a remedy to these issues next week.
Ranging from environmental activists to uncertain newcomers to town, Wellesley residents will meet together at the Wellesley Free Library next Tuesday to learn more about the problems and solutions surrounding food waste in the United States. Activities will include viewing the documentary “Just Eat It,” inspired by Wellesley High School (WHS) graduate Jonathan Bloom’s book American Wasteland, as well as conversing with Ashley Stanley, a Wellesley native who founded Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a Boston-based “food rescue” group.
The idea that sparked the creation of Lovin’ Spoonfuls came to Stanley in 2009 while she was dining at Captain Marden’s Seafoods. Shocked by the huge portions, Stanley realized that the food that she and her mother had ordered could actually feed four to five people. Curious about where the extra food all went, she discovered the true magnitude of the problem of food waste, and began a new career dedicated to “rescuing” wasted food and diverting it to those in need.
“Wasted food impacts our environment, our climate and our budget; the average family of four could save more than $1,000 every year by being less wasteful,” said Ellen Korpi, chair of Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee and member of the 3R Working Group. “We used one quarter of our water supply and four percent of our energy to grow food that is never eaten, and yet, one in seven Americans regularly don’t have enough food to eat. The film, Jonathan Bloom’s book and Ashley Stanley’s group offer insight and solutions to this issue that I hope residents will consider.”
The enlightening event is organized by the 3R Working Group, a collaborative group drawing membership from the Department of Public Works, Natural Resources Commission, and the Sustainable Energy Committee. Other sponsors of the event include the League of Women Voters, Wellesley Green Schools, Farmer’s Market, WHS Green Team, Friends of Recycling, Council on Aging, Sustainable Wellesley, Unitarian Universalists Green Sanctuary Ministry, Wellesley Village Church Environmental Ministry, and Temple Beth Elohim.
Keeping with the event’s theme, refreshments provided by Roche Bros. will be “recovered” items that would have otherwise been disposed of. The event will take place on Tuesday from 6:30 to 9pm. For more information, visit http://www.wellesleyma.gov/Pages/WellesleyMA_NRC/.
(Matthew Hornung and Keenan Ashbrook)