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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Let's Get Wasted

Uploaded: Oct 24, 2017

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste
Film and conversation
October 27th

Two groups in Palo Alto, Transition Palo Alto and Zero Waste Palo Alto present a special showing of WASTED! The Story of Food Waste, this Friday night.

WASTED! sheds light on the pressing issue of food waste. Every year 80% of the world’s water, 40% of the world’s land, and 10% of the world’s energy is dedicated to growing the food we eat, and each year 1.3 billion tons of that food is just thrown away. That’s a third of all food grown around the world.

WASTED! explores the problem and offers solutions like reorienting consumer perspectives on the food normally cast aside, and changes we can make to our food production chain to create a more sustainable food system.

You’ll meet forward-thinking chefs and thought leaders who offer creative, often mouth-watering solutions. Determined individuals and organizations are already influencing the future of food recovery and demonstrating how eating can empower people in the fight to solve one of the world’s most vexing dilemmas. See the trailer...

Friday October 27, 7:30-9:30pm
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
FREE, donations appreciated

See City Supper - The Future of Food for information on The Plant, a nonprofit in Chicago powering their food production site with food waste created by the businesses in the building.

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Lauralies, a resident of another community,
on Oct 24, 2017 at 8:23 pm

I'll be there!

Posted by Food Nerd, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Oct 25, 2017 at 10:26 am

Hi Laura
One thing I would really love to see done is for an organization like Second Harvest to get help from maybe an organization like Google Express setting up a project that allows people to buy longterm and shortterm food storage items for emergencies, including bottled water, and then keeps track of expirations and replenishes the stock once a year or once every two years, bringing the traded items to food pantries, with an accurate donation receipt. This could create a better-prepared public after the next earthquake, and a steady, reliable base of donations for food pantries. Right now, I think a lot of people just throw away the food, if they prepare at all, which is often not the case because of the difficulties of planning and keeping track. Water is especially a problem. Those packs of plastic bottles are more practical than the 5-gallon kits which I've experienced so many problems with, but they get old fast, yet if an organization handled things right, it could both give people always-fresh bottled water for emergencies, and cycle it out soon enough for use in organizations that need the bottled water but hate the environmental impacts. We're pretty concientious, and we even eat the expired canned food in our kits within safe time ranges (for many kinds of food, it's years), but it would really be better if the food got eaten within optimal time periods.

Figuring out the logistics and economics of this would be no easy task, but it could simultaneously reduce food waste, improve emergency preparedness, and create a reliable base of food pantry donations, all on a sustained basis.

Three things reduced our own food waste to almost nothing. One, I became a gardener, for food I couldn't buy from others. Putting one's own efforts into food production makes you feel the tragedy of food waste at a very primal level. Two, decades ago, I began buying exclusively organic. When you spend three dollars on a mango, you pay attention to when it's ripe and don't buy too many. Three, we buy from the farmer's market, because of becoming foodie, so we anticipate using the food and don't waste any of it. Oh, and those special green bags that keep stuff from ripening so fast, they really work. We reuse them too, which reduces plastic usage.

This of course does nothing for food waste on the supply side, although hopefully using farmers markets helps. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View,
on Oct 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Local Food Banks can get the close dated food from the supermarkets. Often, the close dated food and some actual " expired " food is no different from the food stocked on the shelves in the actual supermarket itself!.
People with backyard gardens should know that a compost system can help close the loop by recycling the food into compost that feeds their garden. Others often go on Craigslist and offer free compost for the taking.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Oct 26, 2017 at 8:16 am

Interesting comments. And don't forget to remove those little stickers on so much of our produce, before you throw the peels into the compost. Leaving them on screws up the end product. See for more info Web Link

Posted by Jeanne, a resident of Stanford,
on Oct 26, 2017 at 8:21 am

We were consistently wasting food at our house, Especially produce. We realized that we were just buying too much. Costco is great but ultimately we were wasting over half the food we bought at Costco and it ended up rotting before we could eat it all. We now purchase smaller portions and bundles to make sure we are not wasting food and throwing money in the garbage.

Posted by D in Duveneck, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Oct 27, 2017 at 10:43 am

Another way to work with Costco quantities:

I've found that you can buy vegetables in quantity from Costco, give half of them to the Food Closet or Second Harvest, and still save money! A win-win!

Growing your own veggies: If you use protected areas around your house, you can grow vegetables all year round, barring an extended freeze. And it's not that difficult to build protections, as in cold frames and mini-shelters, which work even for severe cold, which, around here, is not that severe.. Added benefit--when you harvest your vegetables, you end up with additional compost matter with roots, leaves, and trimmings.

Finally, composting lets you reuse fallen leaves and garden pruning, as long as it's not too woody, rather than sending it off with the trash.

Posted by Food saver composter, a resident of Ventura,
on Oct 27, 2017 at 10:46 am

We discontinued Costco membership years ago for the same reason, even though prices were so low, organic produce so attractive and tasty, we bought in bulk in order to save and finally - to realize that we were pressured to eat way too much when it came closer to the expiration date so that we would not throw it away...we said ok - let's try without Costco for a year...and we never looked back...because we bought exactly what we needed and our food waste is non existent. We will be there with our teen kids tonight at the movie - I want them to see what I have been preaching for years.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Oct 27, 2017 at 10:55 am

Oh fun Food saver composter - I'll see you there. We are Food Partying tonight!

Posted by Lauralies, a resident of another community,
on Oct 27, 2017 at 11:22 pm

What a great movie tonight! We learned

1. 1/3 of all food produced is never eaten

2. 90% of US food waste ends up in the landfill

3. As a chef, when you love your waste, your choices are limitless

4. Cauliflowers are 40% cauliflower , 60% leaf, and all of it is edible

5. 10 trillion tons of grown food gets wasted every year in the U.S.

7. Huge parts of our country are growing food that is mostly wasted (the byproduct of corn and soy), or trashy food that isn't good for us anyways (i.e. chips and junk food)

And more to come :)

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