Photo submitted The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society now has hungry pigs getting leftover, fresher food at a discounted price — a built in Waste-Wise connection where everyone benefits, including our environment.

COLUMNS: Embrace leftovers to help the planet

Food waste is a broad topic, now that I think about it. There are so many factors:

Oliver Berger

Down to Earth

Food waste is a broad topic, now that I think about it. There are so many factors:

• Produce waste by suppliers when fruits are not ‘pretty’ enough to be sold to market

• Crop failures due to weather events or disease

• Damaged or contaminated produce and grains discarded during shipping

• Edible vegetables thrown away at home because we lack time and know-how to make soup out of limp carrots

• There is also the common misconception that food might literally blow up on its supposed expiry date.

This food waste tree has many branches… and roots. How can you make a difference?

Two important things I believe we can do to substantially reduce food waste are:

• Learn how to cook

Cooking is an essential part of surviving as a human being. We all need to eat. By doing so, we learn about our ingredients; their flavors, textures, and cooking properties. We learn how our food is born and what it takes to raise it. We become connected to the elements of life that sustain ours. Once you learn how to make tasty stews with a bunch of leftovers, you will be saving cash, and become a wicked self-taught chef!

• Manage your leftovers sustainably

Leftovers are unavoidable. Onion peels, lemon wedges, rotten produce (oops), table scraps, egg shells, meat scraps, bones, etc. … the by-products of eating. If you are not the type of person to keep all your bones in a chip bag in the freezer to make bone broth later, you might want to start simpler.

It is important to know that food waste left in the landfill does not necessarily compost, it sits in an airless environment buried under more garbage and dirt. In this combination, the degradation process releases methane gas into our atmosphere.

Food waste in the landfill is a wasted opportunity. Those discarded valuable nutrients could easily be used by many other living things such as your pets, livestock, trees and even your garden.

Talk to a friend with an animal to share meat scraps with. Build a composter in your backyard to turn your produce and yard waste into healthy soil. Better yet meet a friend that loves to compost and make a cookie deal with them. Acquire livestock, they love food waste.

Our ‘Food Not Wasted’ program is one way we have connected some of these opportunities. We have fantastic cooks who have leftovers and now we have hungry pigs that get fresher food at a discounted price. We have built a Waste-Wise connection where everyone benefits, including our environment.

Our community really does work together, many folks are already managing food waste streams quite effectively.

Conservation Tip of the Month: If you are a business or farmer that would like to get connected in our program give us a call, 250-398-7929. We also do compost coaching and presentations, check out our Facebook page for the latest updates. Who knows, we might even start a cooking class soon.

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