My guest today is a food waste solutions expert! She has all the tricks to help us move closer to saving our planet.
Known as The Plant-Powered Dietitian, Sharon has established an award-winning career in the field of plant-based nutrition and sustainability. One of the most widely recognized registered dietitians in the world, Sharon is an accomplished writer, editor, blogger, author, speaker, professor, advisor, and media expert.
Sharon has authored over 1000 articles in a variety of publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, Oprah Magazine, and LA Times.
Her latest book, California Vegan: Inspiration and Recipes from the People and Places of the Golden State, was published on March 1, 2021. And she’s currently working on her fourth book on plant-based eating due for publication in 2022.
She serves as the nutrition editor for Today’s Dietitian, associate faculty in the MS of Sustainable Food Systems Program at Prescott College, judge for the James Beard Journalism Awards, nutrition consultant for several organizations such as AICR and Oldways, and co-founder of Food and Planet.
Sharon recently completed her Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College in Vermont. And she still has time to blog every day for her popular online community (400 K members strong and growing) at The Plant-Powered Dietitian.
Living in the sustainability mecca of Ojai, California with her husband and two dogs, Sharon enjoys tending to her own organic garden, visiting the local farmers market, volunteering in local environmental organizations, and cooking for friends and family.
What is Food Waste?
Food waste is when you discard edible nutritious healthy food, basically throwing away food that can be eaten. 40% of our food supply is wasted. That’s crazy!
This is not just about food going bad, it’s about waste happening on many different levels.
A lot of it is happening at the consumer level, in our household, when we shop at the grocery store and when we eat at restaurants. While it also happens at the grocery level and with the restaurants themselves, a lot is a result of what we do.
All of this food is wasted while 12% of our population has food insecurity, meaning they don’t know if they will have food to eat.
Why Food Waste is Happening
There are many reasons why food waste happens in our country, but a large issue is our food is relatively inexpensive compared to other countries.
A study was done on the percentage of income we put towards food and when compared to other nations, it’s a lot lower. This info is purely statistical and not related to food insecurity or those that cannot afford food.
Since we put a lot less of our salary towards food, we don’t value our food as much. Therefore, wasting it isn’t something that we think about as an issue.
Also, we don’t use the entire plant when it comes to produce. We tend to throw away a lot, things like carrots tops, peeling veggies and fruit when the peels are edible and stalks of broccoli.
Also, here in the US we are disconnected from our food system. Many people have never been to a farm, so we don’t stop to think about all that goes into getting our food.
Another issue is our perfection principal. If produce isn’t perfect, it isn’t good enough to buy or sell. From blemishes to off shapes, we tend to buy the produce that does not have these issues. And grocery stores only display those that are perfect as well.
We also don’t understand the expiration dates on packages. What are actually best buy dates, we take as an expiration. But in fact, many things are good well past the best buy date.
Another huge issue in our country is our problem with portion sizes. This is actually factual, if you compare our portion sizes to other countries you can see a …