I couldn’t agree more with Joanne Ackerman’s insight in her letter to the editor about food waste. It’s hard to imagine that while some people live in food deserts, some of us throw out 40% of what we buy.
I could consider myself lucky having grown up around parents and grandparents who went through the Great Depression, with its high level of unemployment and people picking through garbage bins to stay alive. We learned how to use leftovers in other dishes and cut down on cooking time that way.
While at a restaurant recently, I noticed a family leaving their table along with their three kids. I watched with amazement as the father picked up his kids’ plates of partly eaten food and dumped them into the trash bin. I thought it would have been wise and helpful to them if he had boxed the leftovers to feed the kids later.
Some years ago, I was picking out produce at Fred Meyer when one of the workers began picking up lettuces and placing them on a cart and putting out new heads. The older heads looked nearly as fresh as the new ones. I asked him why he was doing that and he replied that he was taking them to the back to throw them out because they didn’t look as fresh as the store would like. I asked him if Freddie’s would offer the rejected produce to their workers and he said they weren’t allowed to take them. He stated they also did not offer them to the soup kitchens such as Bean’s Cafe. Additionally, if I wanted to buy the older heads, I would pay the same price as the newer ones.
There must be a way for Freddie’s to do something with produce that is perfectly good but not quite up to their aesthetic standards rather than toss it. This policy, if still in effect, borders on the extreme end of unethical, as there are plenty of ways to get this food to the people who need it.
We all need to re-examine our habits and consciously make changes that would make it easier for people in need. Forty percent is not just a big waste of resources. It is disrespectful to the people who bring it to our tables and to the earth where it originates.
— Susan A. Valenti
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