Before you toss the squash … this time of year, gardeners or CSA (community supported agriculture) members find themselves knee-deep in squash, cucumbers, peppers, greens, herbs and tomatoes. But we are also busy people, who forget these gems are hidden in drawers or pushed to the back of the refrigerator where they sit forgotten growing fuzzy white mold. This inevitably leads to them being tossed into the trash.
Unfortunately, food waste is not a seasonal phenomenon. It happens year round and it’s more than just a couple of tomatoes we are talking about. Americans are wasting 40 percent of their food. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 97 percent of the wasted food ends up in the landfill, which amounts to 33 million tons of food. When food breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen) in the landfill it releases methane gas; methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Food waste not only takes up valuable landfill space, but it’s heavy and costly to transport.
To prevent the fruits of your, or someone else’s, hard labor going to waste, try these tips: freeze or can food before it spoils, give it to a neighbor or friend, donate to your local food pantry, or at the very least, compost it.
To learn more about how you can reduce food waste, come to the Cold Spring Farmers’ Market from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17. Krystal Valiquette Ford will share recipes and tips for tackling food waste in the kitchen.