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Posts Tagged ‘food waste’

Faced with rising food prices, and shrinking wallets, citizens are becoming increasingly resourceful. Sunday’s Washington Post has an article on the unprecedented growth of home gardening in America. A $20 return in produce, for every dollar spent on seeds, is a hard number to ignore. Even I, whose nature did not bless with a green thumb, discovered the marvel of the homegrown vegetable patch.

Hubby Prad, also sometimes called Green Guru, tempers my enthusiasm with his usual cynicism. Prad thinks home gardening is not enough. And shares what he saw at the Honolulu Safeway yesterday. A family, obviously not rich, pushing a shopping cart filled with bottled water. That mother is just throwing away her already scarce resources on regular tap water, made to pass as a high price commodity. Shopping smart is an acquired skill, that many Americans lack. Knowing what to put and not put on one’s grocery list is as essential as looking for the best deals and clipping coupons.

We already knew Americans need to downsize, and not throw away their food. Now add to the list: home gardening, and ‘smart grocery listing‘.

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No wonder I felt pangs of guilt while watching “The Ball”. The movie acted as a mirror for my outrageously wasteful lifestyle. It is no consolation to learn that I am joined by the rest of my fellow Americans. One quarter of food wasted, is a hard number to reckon. This is to add to the amount of food wasted in our bodies when we overeat.

Of course our surrounding culture of waste and excess is to blame. At some point, however, one needs to start taking responsibility, and say, enough! I am starting to experience Prad’s comments about my grocery shopping habits, very differently. No longer as an intrusion and an attempt to control my actions, but rather as an expression of his deep concern for his fellow beings. Of course, it does help that he was born in India, a country where access to food is a privilege, not a birthright.

Guilt is good.

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Green Guru asks me to take a look at our fridge. “Look! This is what I am talking about.” And starts pointing at all the containers, full of uneaten leftovers, mostly from dishes I made for Catherine, or bought for her. Meatball pasta from Il Fornaio takeout, butter noodles, roast chicken from Whole Foods deli, a Styrofoam box with a half eaten beef burrito. The roast chicken, I will probably use in our salad tonight. But the rest? Catherine does not like to eat leftovers, and we are not big on beef and starches. The stuff is going to sit in the fridge for a few more days. It is good food and should not go to waste. I can only keep the illusion for so long, however. Eventually, I will have to throw the stuff away. Green Guru made his point.

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