Old Me vs New Me: Food Waste and Personal Reflection
Abundant food has been, and continues to be, a constant in my life.
Family gatherings always revolve around food, birthdays and other special milestones always involve a meal out, Christmas and Chinese New Year are incredible food days on my family’s calendar, and I have countless memories of my mom and my grandma being in the kitchen.
It’s been a beautiful primary thread in the fabric of my life.
Because I have been fortunate enough to always have enough (and even too much) food, I hadn’t really thought too much of the issue of food waste….until recently. I started realising, from my own family observations, how much:
We leave on our plates;
Kids leave in their lunchboxes; and,
How much of our fridge stock we throw out weekly.
As I have dived deeper into the issue of food waste, I have realised:
How little I knew about the problem in the first place; and,
How little the magnitude of this problem is discussed. Given the financial and environment effects it has on our society and planet, I can’t believe how little air time it gets.
I understand that government legislation will take time to catch up. I also understand it will be difficult to implement an adequate amount of legislation to tackle the continually growing magnitude of the problem.
Therefore, I am making a pact to individually affect change, as well as to educate as many people as I can about food waste, whilst we wait for governments to take action.
During my personal reflections on food waste, there are some things I have changed in my home. Over the last few months as I have really been sticking my head into the food waste space:
– I am no longer packing ‘just-in-case’ food into my kids’ lunchboxes. I pack what I know they will finish. They can come home for another snack or meal in a couple of hours after their school lunch time if they are still hungry. The result? Empty lunchboxes are coming home every day.
– We have started our own little vegetable scrap garden. We are regrowing carrot tops, celery stems and avocado seeds just to name a few and we now have a scrap garden growing. It’s been a cool experiment for the kids because it has taught them about the lifecycle of food and also has allowed them to see the effort that needs to go into growing food in the first place.
– I am shopping more often and buying smaller amounts rather than doing larger, less frequent shops. This gives me more control over what we have in the fridge and pantry at any one time. Most of the time, my fridge looks like it’s almost empty. This is the way I like it because no food is going to waste.
– We are eating more “buddha bowl” style at home. This means that I put together a mixed bowl of food to make a meal. This is a tasty and satisfying way to use up old leftovers. Rice is usually my base and I build up few veggie components, a protein component and top it off with a sauce or dressing to tie the dish together.
– I am trying my best not to over-cater for events that I host at home. I was so used to this mindset growing up. It’s hard to move past this when social media feeds are filled with party tables stacked to the sky. Instead of having a million different choices for my guests, I am focussing on one main meal for the kids and a few delicious and high-quality meal options for the adults. I have found that grazing tables often create lots of waste because people tend try little bits of everything.
– I feel more guilty when I throw perfectly edible parts of produce into the bin. This includes things like broccoli stems or potato skins. The guilt is a good thing- it has encouraged me to do more research into how to use ‘scraps’ to make other meals. It’s been pretty cool to make pesto out of broccoli stems, to learn how to pickle and to make some different jams.
I am making a promise to myself and you, my Minifarms Community, that I will continue to educate and better myself in this space. I also promise to share my findings with you in the form of impactful facts and study results, cool recipes, kitchen tips and pantry hacks to ensure your food waste footprint is minimised.
Thanks for joining me on my journey so far. I encourage you all to keep thinking about your food waste footprint. All the small steps that you have taken to date is helping to shift the narrative around food waste and more importantly, having a positive impact on your pocket the health of our Planet – so thank YOU!