Monday, August 14, 2006


Sometimes I am amazed at how much waste two people can generate. I recently threw away an entire head of organic broccoli because I didn't get to it fast enough. It's been so bad lately I've been avoiding feeding my worms because I feel like there's just too much waste food for them to process. And I'm not alone - a study conducted by an anthropologist at the University of Arizona revealed that American households waste on average 14 percent of their food purchases.

To make things worse, food pantries are constantly fighting to get ahold of enough fresh fruits and vegetables for the people they serve. This article appeared in our local paper last week:

Four-year-old Dion Stanton climbed into the back of his family's car, surrounded by cereal, canned goods and juice -- all recently picked up from the Salvation Army's emergency pantry.

His mom, Carolyn Stanton, 24, said she and her son moved to Grand Rapids last week from Detroit and she visited the pantry while getting settled in. She tried to pick out healthy foods for her and her son -- he likes corn and spinach.

But the Salvation Army was out of fresh fruits and vegetables Wednesday, a need many area food pantries expressed.

"If people have excess produce from their gardens your local food pantry would love it," said Terry Cruzan, coordinator for emergency services at the Salvation Army.

Since I don't have my own garden, I'm going gleaning Thursday morning for the Second Harvest Gleaners Food Bank of West Michigan, picking corn out of a local farmer's field. Maybe helping to feed others will make me more mindful of my own waste.

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