Stepping Up To The Plate To Reduce Food Waste

Wasted food eats up our agricultural land, drinks up our freshwater and pollutes our atmosphere. And in a world with a rapidly-growing population, it also creates the potential for competition and conflict over valuable resources. UNEP urges a “reduce, reuse, recycle” policy: reducing food waste, wherever possible, at every stage of the supply chain; reusing wasted food by distributing it to the needy, through food banks, for example; and recycling through composting rather than inefficient landfill. None of this needs to be costly. UNEP has identified areas where significant savings can be made, and new economic opportunities can be grasped, in tackling this ongoing issue. Meanwhile, the Natural Resources Defense Council is calling for the United States to catch up to the rest of the world in addressing food waste, starting with an overhaul of food labeling policy in the United States. The date label that is most misinterpreted is the “sell by” date. This date is not intended for the consumer at all, but is a guide from manufacturers to help retailers manage stock rotation. NRDC recommends making “sell-by” dates invisible to consumers. In their place should be a clear, consistent labeling system that provides useful guidance for consumers, and distinguishes between safety-based and quality-based dates. A standard storage and handling guide, akin to the nutrition information box on food products, would also be helpful. But the onus must not entirely fall upon producers and retailers. Consumers need to play their part too.

At Food-Filled Farm Aid, Music Isn’t Only Focus

These budget cuts would raise the unemployment rate, shrink the economy and eliminate 2 million jobs in 2014 alone, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) 2. Paul Ryan’s Budget Would Cut Medicaid His budget would slash Medicaid spending by $756 billion and turn the program into a block-grant program for states. It also would eliminate Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which would have provided Medicaid coverage for an estimated 12 million more people. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) 3. Paul Ryan’s Budget Would Let States Kick People Off Of Food Stamps His budget would turn the food stamp program into a block-grant program for states. It also would encourage states to limit the amount of time that the unemployed can access food stamps and limit food stamp eligibility mostly to workers. (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde) 4. Paul Ryan’s Budget Would Cut Medicare His budget would cut Medicare spending and turn the program into a subsidized private-insurance program. This would translate into less health care for seniors, according to the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, as well as more expensive health insurance, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard) 5.

Jason Greenslate, Food Stamp Surfer, Responds To The Haters

“Farm Aid’s mission is about family farmers, and economic opportunity for family farmers is a really big priority of ours,” said Glenda Yoder, associate director of Farm Aid. “We also support good farming practices and rewarding farmers for those practices. So our Homegrown criteria call for food that is sourced from family farms that meet an ecological standard, and that returns a fair price to the farmer.” Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp lead the star-studded lineup this year, along with Jack Johnson, Carlene Carter, Toad the Wet Sprocket and about 10 other artists. The annual concert is the chief moneymaker for the Farm Aid organization Nelson co-founded in 1985 and leads as president. The beneficiaries of the organization’s year-round efforts are always featured prominently at the shows, with a Homegrown Village providing concert-goers a chance to meet local farmers, learn agrarian skills, and eat food from vendors who meet strict criteria set by Farm Aid. This year the village is being set up on the expansive lawns of the state park surrounding the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The action there gets going before the 10-hour concert. The village offers plenty of activities to help people get in touch with their inner farmer. There’s a daylong group potato-stamp art project; workshops on making butter, bacon, cheese, lemon vinegar and llama wool bracelets; and a demonstration of how to grow shiitake mushrooms on logs in your own backyard. The Farm Aid organization has raised more than $43 million since 1985 to support programs that help small family farms, expand the Good Food Movement and promote locally grown food. Farm Aid has made grants of more than $2.5 million in the Northeast during the past 28 years, according to the organization. Roger Allison, who started Patchwork Family Farms in Columbia, Mo., with a Farm Aid grant 20 years ago, said Farm Aid has been a lifesaver for the family farmers in his organization who raise hogs in a natural way, unconfined, without antibiotics. “Thank god for Willie Nelson and Farm Aid,” Allison said at Saratoga after driving 23 hours to bring his truckload of savory meats.

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