Hunger is the waste of us

Jonathan Bloom has noticed in his Wasted Food blog that America wastes almost half its food. Farms, businesses, institutions and restaurants can capture and make use of much more food from their waste stream.

The Chicago Tribune tells us that an average-sized hotel purchases more products in a week than 100 families will in a year. That heavy purchasing, much of which is food, leads to great waste.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board says that the lodging industry in California generates 112,000 tons of food waste, 2 percent of the state’s annual total.

When we think of a person in the U.S. who is hungry, we tend to think of an unkempt homeless person with a drug or alcohol problem. However, the truth is that hunger in America is pervasive. While 36 million Americans live in poverty and struggle to get enough food, half are children, EndHunger points out that 96 billion pounds of food are wasted each year. Up to 25% is sanitary, edible and ready to distribute.

  • 263,013,699 pounds of food wasted each day…
  • 10,958,904 pounds wasted each hour…
  • 182,648 pounds wasted each minute…
  • 3,044 pounds of food wasted in America each second!

The Conference of Mayors reported a few years ago that one in four children do not eat regular meals each day because of lack of food in their home. Of those seeking emergency food assistance, 67% have an income of $10,000 or less. Of these individuals, 49% are working full time. Over 10% of Americans 65 years of age and older live in poverty. While more than 85% of food stamps are for children and elders, the average amount of money that food stamp recipients receive per meal is $0.96. [more facts here]

It seems an average family discards as much as 45 pounds per month. Along with many cities seeking to control land fills by producing compost or biogas, Seattle will require by 2009 that all single family homes to recycle their food scraps. A common solution is three bins where food scraps are discarded in new ‘green waste’ containers along with lawn and plant waste.

A ‘conversation project’ in San Francisco called Replate is encouraging folks to leave doggie bags outside restaurants for homeless people to eat. The project says:

“Hey, if you live in an area where homeless people dig through the trash for food, then consider this: Next time just set your leftovers on top of the trash can instead of in it. This may not work, but let’s try to expose this whole hunger issue a little more.”

Now the other half of the conversation about hunger:

“I have no heart for somebody who starves his folks.” – George W. Bush on North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and donated US food exports. CNN January 2, 2003

The US has the highest child poverty rate of any industrialized nation while this Administration wasted at least $146 million over a one-year period on business- and first-class airline tickets, in some cases simply because they felt entitled to the perk.

And George W. Bush is merely reshaping failure while tweaking propaganda and eliminating the word ‘hunger’ from official documents! Can you believe it?

U.S. Stops Describing Americans as “Hungry”
In news from Washington, the Bush administration has stopped using the words “hunger” or “hungry” when describing the millions of Americans who can’t afford to eat!

Instead of suffering from hunger, the Agriculture Department now says these people are experiencing… “very low food security“.

A comment concludes,

“Bush would throw in the word ‘security’ just about anywhere on anything.”

Eat this!
Incidentally, Agriculture Department food stamps cost $28 billion each year [wiki]. Sharyl Attkisson of CBS noticed that the Air Force alone warehouses almost $19 billion in ‘absolute waste’ in spare parts it will never use and often throws away before it’s delivered!