Coming soon to a kitchen near you
Food waste has to be one of the stupidest things we do. Throwing out stuff other people would use if only they knew it was available. But not talking to anybody, not wondering if there might be a way to decrease the amount wasted, just throwing it out instead. It’s an affront against nature.
And no, I don’t mean some people should be happy to eat rotten meat. In my experience anyway, the only people who willingly eat black bananas and day-old bread are rich. They eat like that because they think that’s how they became rich, by not spending anything on themselves. It’s a thing, and not a particularly healthy one at that. But anyway, it’s obviously the food that’s still good we’re talking about rescuing here. Not the stuff with fuzz on it that walked out of the fridge by itself.
For instance, dairy products with an expiry date too close for resale at Loblaws. When I was a kid I had an uncle who worked for what would later become Danone. He was driving big trucks around, loaded with yogourt. Every now and then he’d swing by our house to give us a crate or two of the stuff because, he said, grocery stores didn’t want those because they’d be too hard to sell. Usually the date on them was a week away. This uncle, who ate lots of dairy, swore to us that it was absolutely fine to eat yogourt a week or 10 days past its due date. Because yogourt is already fermented, and full of sugar anyway, as long as you keep it cool it’ll last much longer than advertised.
I was a kid given free stuff and it took work on my part to accept that it was OK to eat “expired” yogourt. It was, of course. Still is. I’m not saying avoiding food waste is easy, especially if you’re at the end of the equation where you’re handed stuff other people wish to toss. We all need a bit of an attitude change, like I did when I was a kid eating my freebies.
This story warms the heart, and signals we may finally be ready to make a few changes to the way we do things. It features technology that connects grocery stores, restaurants, farmers’ markets, and those who would want the food stores and restaurants no longer want. Transfer the stuff over, make use of it, and give community members who need them meals that wouldn’t make the cut in a fancy restaurant but that are more than fine for everyday eating. Oh, and decrease the amount of stuff that winds up buried in a landfill. Seems like win-win-win to me. It’s been tried in a few places and now will be rolled out everywhere in Ontario.
What a joyful idea. Please, folks. Let’s do this.