Food or Rubbish 6
We will look at another aspect of food - waste. We have 7 billions people on earth to feed. We destroy (rain) forests that cover mountains and valleys. We disrupt biodiversity that has been for millions of years interlinking lives in chaotic complexity. We aim first to grow enough food to feed ourselves and then to sell excesses to wider markets for (money and) goods and services for comfort and wealth. And we are stuck on wealth.
[Some kiwanos (horned melons) - very common food in Africa are quite nutritious in salads or as fruit deserts. Peel thorns off ;-) ]
In 'Waste Not, Want Not' (pp30-55, National Geographic March 2016) is a story of food waste and of a man's mission to feed the world with food deemed waste by our growers and markets. On pages 38-39 an infographic tells of 20% of food lost before it leaves the farm gates, and 19% of food we buy is lost before it gets to our dining table. From the farm gates to wholesalers to retailers 14% of food is lost in transport, in storage, on display and so on before it checks out into our basket to take home. That is a total waste of 53% of food - enough to feed 2 billions people - lost, wasted, and adding burden to produce more.
There are wastes of energy, wastes of resources, wastes of opportunities, and wastes of lives arise together with this waste of food.
[Makrut limes are not quite versatile - not in bulk anyway. But they are good hair shampoo, mosquito repellent and air freshener (in car).]
We know about use of toxic chemicals, mineral fertilizers (especially potassium and phospherus which are reaching their limits of availability), and greenhouse gases producing fuels. Environmentally food production is involved in many BIG issues of our environment. To put it another way, we are trading life for food.
The infograhic also says that Southeast Asian countries waste food less than Western countries, But some 40% of food is lost before it gets to our home. That is a significant amount of loss. We have to ask questions. How does food get lost? What causes and what remedies can we use to reduce or stop losing that much food? (Reducing also toxic chemicals, fertilizers, energy, greenhouse gases,...)
[A carrot head makes a nice little feature on a window sill. If its water need is satisfied, it lasts weeks and can be planted in the garden again.]
While hunger in Thailand has not been and is not now a major problem. Pollution or loss of 'healthy' environment is one major problem for all of us. We need to look at food waste and how to improve our life with less food waste - to protect our environment.
[No! Kingparrots do not make good food. But they make living more pleasurable. ;-) ]
Yes! For those who may wonder about quality of food and price of food. There are relationships in the markets. But high price can mean high cost of labour or energy or fertilizers or toxic chemicals or high profit margins -- not just quality of food. Nutritional measures and from 'gut biota' (bacteria) prospectives usuall say the food we waste is as good as the food we pay dearly for. (But exposure to contaminants is what separate bad food from good food - IF we can tell or IF our government can run routine checks to assure us.)