Campus promotes greater concern for food waste

By Daniel Park

Contributing Writer

After a recent lecture and the efforts of University staff, particularly professor of economics Nancy White, the University has placed a greater emphasis on the implications of food waste.

On Oct. 26, University students as well as Lewisburg locals, farmers in particular, attended a lecture by Jonathan Bloom, a journalist and food waste expert who received his masters degree from UNC Chapel Hill. The event was strongly advocated by White, who also has a deep compassion for and understanding of  the concept of food waste.

Bloom became a strong advocate for preventing food waste after a volunteer experience with DC Central Kitchens, where he saw plenty of remaining pasta thrown out. This led him to create a blog known as “Wasted Food” and then publish a book entitled “American Wasteland” a few years later.

“Everyone knows about the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. However, we’ve made progress in only the recycling but have yet to emphasize reducing and reusing,” Bloom said. 

He reinforces the idea that while not recycling is intolerable, food waste is commonly ignored and often accepted within communities.

“The United States, by far, is the largest food-wasting country in the world, in which 40 percent raised or grown in America isn’t consumed, which accumulates to about 160 billion pounds per annum,” Bloom said.

He believes the source of this immeasurable amount of food wasting traces back to farms that throw out slightly obscure looking produce because of consumer pickiness as well as supermarkets having to throw out expired goods.

“Listen to your instinct, not the dates on goods; if you think it looks good and smells good than it’s perfectly edible,” Bloom said. 

White also has much to say on this topic. She believes that wasting food is a cultural rather than an individual problem and there are various ways to tackle this problem. One method that she believes will make people more cognizant of the food they waste is encouraging them to grow their own food.

“Go home and plant a garden at home. When Bucknell students are at home during summer break, growing their own food will not only bring a sense of elatedness but also achievement and affection towards food,” White said.

White addresses other countries such as those in Asia like Japan and Korea.

“These countries learned how to be creative with food preservation,” White said. “It was a necessary skill to have because of their long-standing history over time, which required ways in preserving food for their own people due to war and lack of land when in contrast America is a young country which is abundant in land resources as well as extreme fast paced growth.”

Japan and Korea have mastered the art of food preservation through fermentation, such as kimchi, that allows food to stay edible for much longer periods of time.

The University with the strong aid of Janice Butler, director of civic engagement and service learning, and Rabbi Serena Fujita, have currently made plans on making a community garden downtown for University students and community members to experience the art of producing food. The garden will also aid the Lewisburg area by teaching residents how to grow their own food and prepare it as a meal. Though a small change, it is one step closer to preventing food waste in the Lewisburg area.

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