New York Times on Hunger and America’s Table Scraps

Anyone who has worked in a restaurant or as a cater waiter like we have has seen more than their share of food get tossed in the trash.  One vivid memory of a party for computer giant Oracle at San Francisco’s Exploratorium comes to mind. It was under attended, easy to work, rather boring. Passing hors d’oeuvres in a ill-fitting tuxedo purchased at the thrift shop isn’t much fun.

When the party was over large kitchen tray after tray of food was headed to the garbage. Beautiful canapes, beef tenderloin, ahi sushi, shumai dumplings and assorted pastries were unceremoniously scraped into large garbage bags.  Suddenly a few ambitious waiters intercepted some trays leaving the kitchen and when a friend gave me a plastic bag, I followed, grabbing some beef and dumplings and more than a few sweets all of which was some of the best food I’d ever eaten even if it was headed for the trash.

But even NBN was surprised to read that Americans toss out more than 27% of all food we purchase.  A New York Times story, www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18martin.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin. One Country’s Table Scraps, Another Country’s Meal</a> adds context to the growing costs of food.  While increasing demand around the world’s growing economies are impacting prices, the story details waste here and abroad. In Great Britain waste is equally rampant, while in some parts of Africa food distribution is so challenging, that commodities often rot before they can reach the people who need them.

Ah, and if that weren’t enough to make one wonder about the foibles of humanity, the huge amount of food waste piled into landfills releases a huge amount of greenhouse gas.

So next time you or your spouse or roommate go shopping, think about it. With food riots growing throughout the world, don’t take abundance, even if its Slim Jims and Doritos, for granted.

At least we have enough food to eat and plenty more to throw away.  Life is strange that way.

You can make a difference in lots of ways.  Help  www.globalgiving.com/pr/1100/proj1015e.html a farm in Uganda run by AIDS widows purchase a tractor , or take a look elsewhere and get active rather than depressed.

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