5 Ways to Use Less Food

Is more food heading for the garbage than your family’s tummies? Check out these easy ways to cut down on food waste.

Photo courtesy of Flickr via Compfight.com

Leave plates half-empty
Or use smaller plates. Have diners ask for seconds rather than leave waste on their plates from a too-generous first serving.

Swap fresh for frozen
Tired of throwing out yellowed broccoli and desiccated ginger? Frozen vegetables and herb cubes not only cut spoilage, they slash your food-prep time. They’re also a great way to eat local year round: freeze local berries in-season, and then enjoy them in baked goods or yogurt all winter long.

Donate bumper crops of produce
Grow your own? Cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Hamilton, Ont., have fruit-tree harvesting projects where homeowners can arrange to have a volunteer pick their fruit tree for them. The homeowner gets a share, the volunteer gets a share and so does a local food bank.

Repurpose
Beauty hounds can blend, mash or purée overripe bananas, peaches, avocado or other
fruit into homemade skin or hair treatments.

Buy direct from Farmers
Hit your local farmer’s market for what you need, now. (Picking up just a day or two’s worth of groceries usually results in less waste than buying for a theoretical week.) Or support CSAs, which operate on the principle of partnership between farmers and consumers. You subscribe to “shares” of the year’s harvest from a local (usually organic) farm or multi-farm cooperative, and in return receive a weekly shipment of produce. Payment is up-front each season, which helps farmers avoid pricey bank loans for seed money. Because produce is minimally packaged and delivered in a reusable tub, packaging waste is greatly reduced. “Share” sizes are geared to family size, minimizing food waste. Google “CSA farms” and your city for ones in your area.

By Yuki Hayashi

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