“Dumped milk, smashed eggs, plowed vegetables,” reads the headline of a recently published New York Times article about the increase in food waste that has occurred due to the mass closing of restaurants, hotels, and schools who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This headline comes as somewhat of a surprise given the recent rise in news about increased demand at grocery stores that has put pressure on food banks and food-insecure families across the nation. But as the NYT article states, food banks can only handle a certain amount of perishable food before they run out of refrigerated storage space.
During this time of quarantine, though, food represents a means of staying connected amidst social distancing. Whether posting about our #QuarantineKitchens, going on virtual dinner dates, donating to food banks, or picking up groceries for the elderly, food plays an important role in generating a sense of togetherness in a time where we are otherwise forced to be apart.
The COVID-19 outbreak has called for us to reexamine our food habits, whether by prompting us to think about how we can give back to our community, how we can support local farms, or by forcing restaurant-goers to learn how to cook a meal or two. But while the pandemic may be a wakeup call, it’s important to remember that food waste and food insecurity were real issues before COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that between 30 and 40% of our food supply goes to waste—nearly 133 billion pounds of food. That's why in this week of the BlueWave Earth Month Challenge, we're asking ourselves what ways we can reduce the footprint of our food consumed, also know as our "foodprint".
Let's take this moment as an opportunity to think more holistically about our food practices and food systems.
Building off a strong first week, BlueWavers jumped right into Week 2’s challenge, leading us right up until Earth Day.
Week 2's highlights:
Gardening season is fast approaching: here’s a creative way to recycle egg cartons to get your garden going.
Farm delivery sign up? Check. First delivery? Check. Mashed potatoes? Coming soon.
Is there any kitchenware more versatile than a mason jar?
This one takes the crown for most creative repurposing of food: rehydrated chickpeas to make aquafaba, a great egg alternative for some vegan baking.
Did you know that lots of the veggies we eat can be regrown right in our homes on our windowsill? Check out this onion and avocado garden.
4 more tips for supporting sustainable food systems
Week 2 may be over, but our climate fight is ongoing. Want to stay active? Here are 4 tips to continue greening your food systems.
- Repurpose your food waste! You can replant some veggie scraps to regrow them or use them to make veggie broth! Here’s a great app to help you think about how you can repurpose your excess food waste.
- Help reduce food waste and support your local farms by signing up for farm delivery! If you live in Massachusetts, here are two awesome services you can check out: Mass Food Deliver, and Mass Farmers Market.
- Volunteer at or donate to an organization working to support farms and food banks. Check out what local organizations you can support! Here are a number of local Massachusetts organizations doing great work: Food for Free, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, The Food Project.
- Green your diet! There are lots of ways you can make small changes to your diet that can support the environment. Reducing the amount of meat, you can eat has both health perks and environmental perks. Consuming food that is in season is also a great way to cut down on your foodprint since seasonal food often requires much less energy to produce and transport. Check out what’s in season near you.
BlueWave's Earth Month Challenge
We may be separated right now, but we remain united in our mission to protect the planet. To celebrate the 50th annual Earth Month this year, BlueWave is inviting you to join us in our virtual Earth Month Challenge. Each week we will post different challenges and tips to give you inspiration for small and big ways you can green your lifestyle and fight climate change from the safety of your home. Get involved by posting on your social media accounts about how you're taking action and tag #BlueWaveChallenge.