I just watched the tail end of an episode of the new reality show The Big Waste and I was left speechless. There were mounds and mounds of fruits, vegetables and meats which were still edible that were being thrown away or left to rot in the fields. DH and I have discussed primarily why this happens and we have come to the conclusion that we as consumers bear much of the brunt. We demand perfection; any blemish, scratch, deformation is viewed as unacceptable and we will refuse to buy it. Growers will many times leave their so called imperfect yield in the fields.
I asked, “Why wouldn’t they attempt to share this with a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or people in need?!?” And this is where we came upon some other reasons for the excessive waste – greed, laziness and our society of litigiousness. How so?, you may well ask. DH gave me an example, –
Say a grower here has an abundance of tomatoes which were rejected by the local soup factory and there was a soup kitchen 50 miles away that the farmer thought could use them. Do you really think that they are going to send someone to the farm to pick them up? If the farmer offers them are they really going to be able to process them for use later to prevent them from going completely bad? If they are accepted and used, what happens if someone gets sick and finds out they are using the less than perfect yield from a local farmer? People will automatically believe that this is the source of the sickness. Lawsuits will be filed and bad publicity could kill the farmer’s business and mar the local economy. Even if the source is proven otherwise the damage is already done. It just seems there is no winning.